Body Mass Index or BMI as it is more universally known is the calculation of body mass given a ratio between height and weight and provides an indication whether a person is overweight or underweight or the right weight in comparison to the height of the person. The formula can be applied to both men and women and be measured in metric as well as standard scales. Simply defined BMI is the result of your weight divided by the square of your height in either scale of measurement.
- Get an accurate reading of your height and weight using a ruler, a weighing machine and pen, paper and calculator for computation of the BMI.
- If you are using the metric scale of measurement, convert your height into centimeters and weight into kilograms.
- Divide the weight by the square of the height measured.
- For the standard scale measurement, convert your weight into pounds and the height into inches.
- Use the same formula as the metric scale - weight/square of height and multiply the result by 703 to arrive at your BMI.
- BMI values in the range 18.50 - 24.9 are considered as the ideal height to weight ratio; below 18.50 is underweight; 25 - 29.9 is overweight and 30 and above is obese.
- The BMI is a good, but not the best or perfect indicator of how healthy and risk-free from disease or chronic ailments you are.
- There are chances that the above calculation for BMI might underestimate or overestimate your body mass as there is no distinction being made between muscle mass and fat.
- Athletic and very active people will have a higher muscle to fat ratio, which means that a high BMI for such individuals is not exactly an indicator of poor health.
- Body type or shape is also a factor not taken into account while calculating the BMI. A larger or broader skeletal frame or heavy bones can be the actual reason for high BMI as opposed to actual fat.
- It is always better to use the BMI as a related indicator along with a couple of other factors to get a more accurate reading of how much fat you are carrying and whether you are exposed to significant health risks.
- With BMI, also factor in waist circumference and risk factors which account for obesity or poor health. Alternatively, you can get a reading of the exact fat content in your body by using the ‘Skinfold' or a bio-electrical impedance analysis (BIA). The latter are better indicators than BMI.
For finding out how much at risk you are by using your BMI and waist circumference measurement and making a comparative match against a list of proven risk factors health wise, you can get a fair idea which category you fall into.
Choosing to lead a healthy lifestyle is something which is left entirely to the individual. If you are interested in leading a healthy life, you can get going with a simple calculation such as the BMI which will give you a fair idea of how healthy you are and the category of risk you fall under when the BMI is coupled with other relevant factors.