By Robbie Goldman, Master of Science
DHAC Exercise Physiologist
BMI…Another confusing and maybe even threatening term to be mentioned in your Drs. office and at the gym!
What exactly is a BMI? And why should I be concerned with it?
Well it’s time to clear things up. According to the Federal Government, Body Mass Index (BMI) is a useful measure of weight and obesity. It is calculated from your height and weight.
Because BMI estimates your body fat, it can be a good indicator of your risk for diseases that can occur with more body fat, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, gallstones, breathing problems, and certain cancers.
BMI is a useful tool. But, it also has it’s drawbacks. For people with muscular builds, such as athletes, it may suggest obesity when there is none. (Muscle weighs more than fat.) Similarly, if a person has lost muscle, they may have a higher fat percentage than their weight suggests. This is also unhealthy.
How do you calculate BMI? It’s simple: BMI = (Weight in Pounds / (Height in inches x Height in inches)) x 703.
As a general rule, your BMI score means the following:
- Underweight Below 18.5
- Normal 18.5–24.9
- Overweight 25.0–29.9
- Obesity 30.0 and Above
People whose BMI suggests that they are considered obese (BMI greater than or equal to 30) or overweight (BMI of 25 to 29.9) should probably lose weight. This is even more true if you have other risk factors for heart disease, such as high cholesterol, high blood sugars, physical inactivity, cigarette smoking or other family history of heart disease.
The good news is even a small weight loss (between 5 and 10 percent of your current weight) will help lower your risk of developing those diseases.
Need help getting started? Check out our 60-60 program, which specializes in helping qualified individuals start taking control of their own health.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. “Assessing Your Weight and Health Risk”