Body mass index (BMI) is a person's weight in kilograms (or pounds) divided by the square of their height in meters (or feet). A high BMI may indicate high body fat. BMI helps detect weight categories that can lead to health problems, but it does not diagnose an individual's health status or body fat.
BMI is a simple calculation using a person's height and weight. The formula is Body mass index = kg/m2 where kg is a person's weight in kilograms and m2 is the square of their height in meters.
A BMI of 25.0 or higher is overweight, while the healthy range is 18.5 to 24.9. Bodu mass index applies to most adults between the ages of 18 and 65.
BMI should not be used by muscle builders, long-distance runners, pregnant women, the elderly, or young children. This is because BMI does not take into account whether the weight carried is muscle or fat, but only numbers. People with higher muscle mass, such as athletes, may have a high BMI but are not at higher health risks.
People with lower muscle mass, such as children who have not fully grown or the elderly who may be losing muscle mass, may have a lower BMI. During pregnancy and lactation, a woman's body composition changes, so the use of BMI is not appropriate.
The following BMI ranges (in kg/m2) classify different weight categories:
BMI is not the only tool providers use to categorize weight types. Other tools include:
If you've got a BMI much less than 18.5 (underweight), you'll be at better threat for growing the subsequent conditions:
If you have underweight, your healthcare provider will likely order some blood tests and other tests to check your general health and see if you are malnourished.
It's important to remember that you can have any of the above conditions without having a high BMI. Likewise, you can have a high BMI without any of these conditions. Genetics and other factors, such as smoking, play a large role in the development of these conditions.
You can calculate your BMI yourself by following these steps:
For example, a patient weighs 180 Ibs. and 5 feet 5 inches tall (65 inches total) will calculate their BMI as follows:
Their BMI would be 29.9.
For a healthy BMI, the optimal range is considered to be between 18.5 and 24.9.
It is important to remember that body fat is not the only factor that determines overall health. A number of other factors, such as genetics, activity level, smoking or tobacco use, alcohol consumption and mental health problems, all affect your overall health and ability to development of certain medical conditions.
What are the Limitations of BMI?
The standard BMI chart has limitations for several reasons. For this reason, it is important not to put too much emphasis on your BMI.
While the BMI chart may not be accurate for some people, healthcare providers still use it because it is the fastest tool to assess a person's estimated body fat.
Limitations of Using BMI to Help Diagnose Weight Types
Standard BMI has limitations when it comes to diagnosing weight categories, including:
Body mass index (BMI) is a quick tool that healthcare providers can use to assess your risk for certain health conditions. However, BMI is not always an accurate measure of body fat and is not the only factor that determines your overall health.
If you have questions or concerns about your weight or your risk of certain health conditions, such as heart disease, talk to your healthcare provider. They are ready to help you.