Thursday, November 02, 2006

Body Mass Index

Knowing your body mass index (BMI) will give you one indication about your health. It has been shown that having a heavier middle or belly is more indicative of a health problem than having heavy hips or legs, especially for women. Your BMI takes this into account. It is calculated by dividing your weight by the square of your height. If you use feet and inches for height, use pounds for weight. If you use meters and centimeters for height, use kilograms for weight. If you are really muscular, your BMI may be high for someone who is fit because muscle weighs more than fat. Consult a physician and personal trainer for the interpretation of your BMI, along with other factors.

BMI Weight

Below 18.5 Underweight

18.5 – 24.9 Normal

25.0 – 29.9 Overweight

30.0 and Above Obese

Obese BMI correlates to weight, with differences among gender and age. There are charts on the CDC Web site that will give you information on correlating weight to BMI. If you work out and are toned, and you have a BMI that indicates overweight or obese, check your body fat percentage. You may not have a high body fat percentage. Your BMI may be high due to the weight of your muscle.

Women and older people are more likely to have a larger body fat than men for the same BMI value, and older people are more likely to have more body fat than younger people with the same BMI, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). A high BMI may be indicative of: cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, diabetes and some cancers, according to Calle EE, et al.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to take the place of medical advice, examination and/or diagnosis.

Some information for this blog was obtained from and Calle EE, et al. BMI and mortality in prospective cohort of U.S. adults. NEJM 1999;341:1097–1105. Accessed on MaNOvember 2, 2006