BMI is short for Body Mass Index and it helps tell you if you have too much fat in your body. While there are a lot of methods for calculating body fat, BMI is a quick and easy method for determining if you are underweight, overweight, obese, or in a healthy weight range.
To calculate your BMI, you simply use your weight in kilograms and your height in meters. If you don’t know how to do the math, or just don’t want to, there are calculators online that will figure it out for you. Just input your height and weight. Many of them will also let you know if you’re in a healthy weight range.
For adults, the healthy BMI range is between 18.5 and 25. If your score is below 18.5, you are considered underweight. Above 25 is considered overweight, and above 30 is considered obese. This range is used for men and women aged twenty and over. For those under eighteen, healthy BMI levels vary by age and sex. BMI range can be determined for children by using height/weight charts.
The problem with BMI is that it’s not terribly accurate for determining the overall percentage of fat in the body. It was developed as a simple way to determine body fat in large groups of people for various studies. However, we are all different shapes and sizes and some have more muscle that others, which adds quite a bit of weight to our bodies. This is a quick reference, but for an accurate reading there is another method.
If your BMI is high, the easiest way to verify that you need to lose a few pounds is by measuring your waist. A waist of greater than 40 inches in men and 35 inches in women is seen as overweight. Other methods for determining body fat percentages include underwater weight, fat fold thickness, and several other tests that require advanced technology. Many of these methods are expensive or difficult, so your doctor probably won’t perform them unless they’re absolutely necessary.
If your BMI is above or below the healthy range, your first step should be to visit a doctor. They can not only perform more accurate tests to determine your exact fat percentages, they will also ask about your current lifestyle, eating, and exercise plan. If your BMI is high, but you eat right, exercise regularly, and don’t practice many bad habits, you may not be at an increased risk for health problems. If you do need to lose or gain weight, they can get you started on a plan to achieve a more healthy weight.
While it may not be perfect, BMI is a fantastic tool to quickly figure out if you are in a healthy age range, or should be concerned about your percentage of body fat.