BMI (body mass index) refers to a measurement of body fat in relation to height and weight. It is an applicable measure for men and women aged twenty years or older. For people under 20 years of age, BMI is calculated relative to age and sex. Although BMI cannot be used as a diagnostic tool, it can be used to assess a healthy weight.
What is your BMI?
A simple formula is used to calculate BMI. Multiply weight in pounds by 703 and divide the answer by height in inches squared. For example, for someone who weighs 150lb and is 5′ 3″ in height, the formula would be:
150 x 703 = 105,450
63 x 63 = 3,969
105,450 ÷ 3,969 = 26.6
However, there are numerous BMI calculators available on in-home scales, the internet, phone apps or by simply typing BMI into Google’s search engine. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute provides one that is standard among healthcare professionals.
What does the BMI number mean?
The normal weight range for BMI is 18.5 to 24.9. Overweight is indicated by a range between 25 and 29.9. Obesity is indicated in an adult with a BMI of 30 or higher. BMI is not always an accurate indicator or fat. BMI can be skewed in muscular people who will show a high BMI without obesity and can also be underestimated in older people who have lost muscle.
The skinny on healthy weight
Maintaining healthy weight is very important because people who are overweight or obese are at a higher risk of heart disease and stroke. The most important factor in maintaining a healthy weight is not about short-term diets. It’s about making long-term lifestyle changes. This involves three things: healthy eating, balancing the number of calories eaten with the number burned, and getting regular exercise.
Battle of the bulge: fat vs. muscle
The body uses fat for energy storage. Fat is composed of certain molecules known as triglycerides. Any time people consume more calories than they burn, the body will turn them into fat. In reverse, people who consume too few calories find that their body will break down fat cells to gain energy. Balancing the amount of energy coming into the body and the amount of energy expended is the key to maintaining a good BMI and a healthy weight. This can be done by limiting the size of food portions at meal times and reducing snacking between meals as well as exercising regularly to burn consumed calories.
The perks of staying slim
Maintaining a healthy weight and BMI has a number of benefits in addition to feeling and looking good. As well as reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and high blood pressure, maintaining a healthy weight can also lower the risk of several different types of cancer. Not to mention the fact that people who have a healthy weight are more motivated to exercise. Other advantages of weight maintenance include better quality sleep and a longer lifespan.
Maintaining a healthy weight doesn’t have to be a chore. People who need motivation can exercise with a friend, join a weight loss or exercise club, or work with a personal trainer.