BMI: the Meaning Behind the Number

BMI: the Meaning Behind the Number

BMI provides a number that is to be used as a reliable indicator of body fat for most people. But is this BMI number reliable?

How is BMI Used?

Body Mass Index is a number calculated from a persons weight and height. BMI is used as a screening tool to identify possible weight loss problems in adults. This is an easy way to quickly assess your total body fat, but you have to remember that BMI does not measure body fat directly. It is said the BMI correlates to direct measures of body fat, such as underwater weighing.

How to Calculate:

BMI is calculated the same way for children and adults.
Formula=weight (lb) / [height (in)]2 x 703
Example: Weight = 150 lbs, Height = 5’5″ (65″)
Calculation: [150 ÷ (65)2] x 703 = 24.96

What to do with your BMI number?

For adults 20 years old and older, BMI is interpreted using standard weight status categories that are the same for all ages and for both men and women. For children and teens, on the other hand, the interpretation of BMI is both age- and sex-specific.

The standard weight status categories associated with BMI ranges for adults are shown in the following table. cdc.gov

 

BMI
Weight Status
Below 18.5 Underweight
18.5 – 24.9 Normal
25.0 – 29.9 Overweight
30.0 and Above Obese

BMI-Chart - Body Mass Index Chart

Number Shock?!
Don’t worry too much if you calculate your BMI and you are in the “overweight” or “obese” categories. Although BMI is a reliable estimation of body fat, it can be unreliable in certain situations. Muscle weighs more than fat, so people with a lot of muscle mass, such as athletes, have higher BMIs, sometimes into the overweight or obese range, even though they have little body fat. Older people tend to have less muscle mass and more body fat, so their BMIs could be too low for their actual body fat, according to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. You always need to check with your healthcare provider to fully assess. They will be able to determine the root of the problem and help you be healthy.

Solution

People who are overweight or obese should lose weight. The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute recommends that overweight or obese patients start out with a goal of losing 10 percent of their weight at the rate of 1 to 2 lbs. each week, which means that patients should cut back their caloric intake by 500 to 1,000 calories per day according to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute’s Obesity Education Initiative. Read more: BMI Facts | eHow.com

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