Health is the biggest asset for any individual and it is important to maintain all parameters leading to health in order to stay healthy and young. Amongst many parameters that together work towards the better health of a person, body fat plays a major role. There are many advanced techniques that would directly measure the body fat but to make things easier, researchers have brought in the easiest measure of body fat called Body Mass Index (BMI). This is the number that works in order to categorize the individual’s weight under various categories like underweight, overweight, obesity, and healthy or normal weight. This is one of the easiest ways to determine person’s body fat.
BMI: How to Calculate and What it Indicates?
BMI is the number derived when you divide the person’s weight in kilograms to square of height measured in meters. If you are taking weigh in pounds and height in inches then you will have to multiply the result by 703 that will act as conversion factor.
Those having higher BMI may have more body fat and vice versa. This number would work as the screening tool for individuals but as it is based on the mathematical formula and no direct test is involved, one may not take it as the diagnostic tool. This number is derived from just two physical parameters but National Institute of Health drew a common guidelines to make this tool more effective. The use of BMI slowly eliminated other tables used by insurance companies to measure the healthy weight range.
Weight Categorization Using BMI
- Normal or Healthy Weight: As it has been already stated above that lower BMI means lower body fat and more health, the BMI range for normal to healthy weight is 18.5 – 24.9. The BMI below 18.5 would come under the underweight category.
- Overweight: People falling under the BMI range of 25-29.9 would fall under the overweight category.
- Obese: The category of obese starts after the 30 mark. Though everybody above the 30 mark may fall under the category of obese, there are further classifications made for clinical records –
Class I – 30 to 34.9
Class II – 35 to 39.9
Class III – above 40
Health Risks Associated with Higher BMI or Obesity
High BMI means obesity and it would result into many health problems over the course of time. Some health issues triggered due to obesity are –
- Hypertension or high blood pressure
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Increase in LDL or bad cholesterol and decrease in HDL or good cholesterol
- Breathing issues
Apart from the above health problems, obesity would also be the reason behind poor quality of life, fatigue, and depression. Those falling into the BMI range above 50 would even find it difficult to move around.
BMI is just the number but if you want to lead healthy life then you will have to bring it down and that is possible only by bringing down your weight or increasing the height. While later is not possible, only way to reduce your BMI is to reduce your weight.