What Is Body Mass Index And How Does It Matter?

What Is Body Mass Index And How Does It Matter?
The Body Mass Index (BMI) is a value which is derived from the weight and height of a person.

What Is Body Mass Index And How Does It Matter?
It is calculated by the weight divided by the square of height and is expressed in the unit  kg/m2.

Body Mass Index is calculated to find out the amount of fat and bone density present in the body. On the basis of BMI an person can be categorized into underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese.
- If your BMI is less than 18.5, it falls within the underweight range.
- If your BMI is 18.5 to (less than) 25, it falls within the normal.
- If your BMI is 25.0 to (less than) 30, it falls within the overweight range.
- If your BMI is 30.0 or higher, it falls within the obese range.

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Why use BMI?

The most basic definition of overweight and obesity is having too much body fat- so much so that it “presents a risk to health.” It is one of the most reliable ways to determine to determine whether a person has too much body fat.
Although BMI is not a perfect measure because it does not directly assess body fat. Muscle and bones are denser than fat, so an athlete or muscular person may have a high BMI, yet not have too much fat. But most people are not athletes, and for most people, BMI is a very good way to calculate level of body fat.

BMI and underweight

If BMI is less than 18.5 it falls under the category of underweight.
You should consult your physician to determine if you should gain weight, as low body mass can decrease your body's immune system, which could lead to illnesses such as disappearance of periods in woman, bone loss, malnutrition and other conditions.
- The lower your BMI the greater these risks become.
- Tips to overcome underweight and gain weight:
- Drink 6-8 glasses of distilled water a day. - Eat frequent but small meals. - Eat lots of raw fruits and vegetables (green leafy vegetables are great) - Do not drink coffee, alcohol, soda pop, and other caffeinated products - Avoid eating processed foods - Avoid red meat and animal fats. - Reduce intake of dairy products. - Do not smoke

Normal BMI

People whose BMI is within 18.5 to 24.9 are categorised as normal BMI.
These people possess the ideal amount of body weight, and are expected to live longer, they have less chance of falling ill or having amd serious illnesses, as well as being perceived as more physically attractive than people with BMI in higher or lower ranges.

Bmi And Overweight

People falling within the range of 25 to 30 are considered overweight and would benefit from finding healthy ways to lower their weight, such as diet and exercise.
Individuals who fall in this range are at increased risk for a variety of illnesses.
If your BMI is 27-29.99 your risk of health problems becomes higher. In a recent study an increased rate of blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease was recorded at 27.3 for women and 27.8 for men.

Tips to lose weight:
- Eliminate Red Meat - Stop eating fried foods - Try having more of salads - Stop soda - Drink plenty of water - Exercise more frequently (home recumbent bikes work well for low impact cardio)

BMI and obesity

Obesity is frequently subdivided into categories:
- Class 1: BMI of 30 to (less than) 35 - Class 2: BMI of 35 to (less than) 40 - Class 3: BMI of 40 or higher. 
Class 3 obesity is sometimes categorized as “extreme” or “severe” obesity.

Along with obesity and high body mass index, the following conditions will put you at a greater risk for heart related diseases and other conditions:
- High blood pressure (hypertension) - Cholesterol - High blood glucose (sugar) - Family history of premature heart disease - Physical inactivity - Cigarette smoking

If a person is overweight (BMI of 25 to 29.9) or those who are obese (BMI greater than or equal to 30) and have two or more of the above mentioned conditions, it is recommended that you lose weight. Even a small weight loss (between 5 and 10 percent of your current weight) will help lower your risk of developing diseases associated with obesity.
People who are overweight, do not have a high waist measurement, and have fewer than two risk factors may need to prevent further weight gain rather than lose weight.

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Tips to overcome obesity:

- Exercise (You can use indoor exercise equipment) - Eat lots of fruits and vegetables - Reduce fat intake - Cut sugar and soda consumption - Try to make physical activities a part of day to day life (at least 30 minutes) - Quit alcohol and smoking - Reduce intake of chocolate, jaggery.


Body Mass Index is a reasonable indicator of body fat for both adults and children. As BMI doesn't measure fat directly, it should not be used as an diagnostic tool. Instead BMI should be used as a measure to track the status of weight amongst populations and as a screening tool to identify weight problems of individuals.

Also from same author: 5 Everyday Tools Doctors Use You Should Know

Editor's Remark
This is a guest post from one of our readers, Bhadra Bhatt. You too can submit yours.

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