Body Mass Index or BMI is the measure of proportion between an individual’s weight and height. It is commonly used to scale one’s body weight and the amount of fat in the body. BMI is an important tool when assessing risk to certain health conditions and is more accurate than using body weight and the weight chart as a basis. The amount of fat in the body can help determine an individual’s risk for developing cancer, heart disease, and diabetes among other health problems.
Individual Body Mass Index
The formula in computing the BMI was developed by Adolphe Quetelet, a Belgian statistician. Body mass index is used as an international tool to measure obesity. To be able to compute one’s BMI, there are only two measurements involved namely height and weight. It can be computed by taking the weight in pounds, dividing it by height in inches2 then multiplying the quotient by 703 (also known as imperial BMI formula) or by using weight in kilograms and dividing it by height in meters2 (also known as metric BMI formula). Index of body mass can be computed by hand and there are also different BMI calculator tools available online.
Imperial BMI Formula
Weight in lbs
——————- * 703
Height in inches2
Metric BMI Formula
Weight in kg
Height in meters2
The normal index of body mass range for older adults is from 18 to 25. The higher the BMI is above the normal range, the greater the extent of overweight. A body mass index of 25-29.9 means that the individual is overweight while a BMI of 30-39.9 makes ankindividual obese. For individuals with a body mass index equal to or higher than 40, this is already considered to be extreme obesity. For individual with a BMI of less than 25, this is considered underweight.
Accuracy of BMI
Body mass index is considered to be accurate when assessing for obesity but there are also 4imes that it can lead to wrong results. There are four cases wherein BMI should not be taken seriously namely for pregnant or lactating women, elderly, persons with disability, and individuals engaged in body building or high performance sports. For pregnant women, body builders, and individuals engaged in high performance sports, the BMI will usually be higher than the normal range. For the elderly and persons with disability, the results are prone to be lower than the real reading.
Implications of High Body Mass Index
Having high BMI means one is overweight or even obese. High fat in the body increases an individual’s risk for developing several health problems and immediate action should be taken to remedy the situation. Among the health conditions a person with high BMI are at risk for include high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, infertility especially in females, urinary incontinence, gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), and breathing problems such as sleep apnea and asthma.
Improving BMI for Better Health
Keeping one’s index of body mass within the normal range is essential to avoid the negative effects of too much fat in the body. Weight loss ma9 be necessary to reduce one’s BMI and is also good for general health. Burning more calories while consuming less calories at the same time will lead to weight reduction although keep in mind that weight loss should be done gradually to maintain energy balance in the body.