Why is BMI Important

Why is BMI important

 BMI is an abbreviation for “Body Mass Index,” a ratio between weight and height. If you’ve dedicated some time already to losing weight, then you’ve likely heard about BMI and, consequently, a BMI calculator. But why are they important and how can they help you achieve that desirable figure?

This article will answer both questions, so take a break from any exercises, sit back, and just stop thinking about your diet for a couple of minutes. The World Health Organization defines Body Mass Index as a simple index of weight-for-height. It is usually used to classify adults into one of three groups: underweight, overweight, and obese. BMI is calculated by weight in kilos, divided by the person's height in meters squared (kg/m2). For instance, let's say that a person is 187 centimeters tall and weighs 91 kilograms. If we divide his weight with his height squared (91/187 x 187), we see that this person has a BMI of 26, which puts him on the “overweight” list. The ideal weight for this person would be somewhere between 66 and 87 kilograms.

So what makes Body Mass Index and its interpretation important? Well, other than letting you know if you are underweight, overweight, or perhaps obese based on a medically approved chart and motivating you to get in shape, BMI has a more important role. It also helps calculate your risk of developing many health problems. For example, a person with a BMI indicating severe obesity will likely need more tests and screenings to check for any health conditions that could be life-threatening.

However, you shouldn’t rely on a BMI calculator as the ultimate health tool, as it only factors in the person's weight, height, age, and sex. What it does not disclose, however, is the percentage of body fat and muscle mass, so it should only be used to give the physician an idea of your BMI score and help him or her decide if any further screening for potential health problems is necessary.

There is a perception that the lower the Body Mass Index, the better. Of course, this is a completely wrong way to look at things. While it is better to be within the 18.5 to 25 range on the BMI scale, having a BMI below 18.5 is actually unhealthy and puts you in the underweight or even starvation category. And just as a person that a BMI calculator determines has a BMI above 25 should be further tested for health problems, a physician would also screen someone with a BMI lower than 18.5 for malnutrition, anorexia, and absorption deficiencies.

What qualifies a person as overweight and obese on the Body Mass Index spectrum? According to the BMI charts, someone with a Body Mass Index between 26 and 30 is considered overweight. While this is not ideal, it is normally not yet something to be alarmed about. You can take steps to lower a BMI in that range by simply altering your diet and exercising more. However, when someone goes into the 31 to 40 BMI range, he's then considered obese and will need to change his dietary habits and way of life. When someone goes over 40 on the BMI chart, he then falls into “morbidly obese” category. Therefore, this person will need the help of a qualified physician to lose weight, or he will risk developing various health problems.

A BMI calculator, although a valuable tool in monitoring your weight, should not considered the sole determinate of a person's health. For instance, many athletes, body builders, and people with a lot of muscle mass can easily fall into the obese and even morbidly obese categories. As these people will normally weight more, they will have a higher Body Mass Index. In their case, a physician may perform some extra tests to ensure that the person is healthy and determine whether he needs medical guidance.

It is very important to make a distinction between BMI charts for adults and BMI charts for children. While the Body Mass Index for adults is based on the person's weight and height, for children, the BMI is based on their gender and age. BMI for children is used more so as a comparison between a child and his or her peers. The child needs to be as close to the 50 percent range as possible, while extreme deviations need immediate attention from a qualified physician.

Regardless of age or gender, people who have a high Body Mass Index are likely endangering their health. While it is not the only indication for health risks, a BMI in the range of 31-40 (obese) or above 40 (morbidly obese) can be one of the first warning signs of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, joint stress, sleep disorders, and many more health issues. If ignored, any prolonged obesity can lead to premature mortality.

If you are looking for a good BMI calculator, you should know that there are plenty available online. Since all the calculators are universal, the results you get will be consistent. If you fall into one of the dangerous categories, such as obese, you should pay a visit to your doctor.

Another good reason to monitor your BMI is that you can get lower health insurance premiums. Many health insurance organizations will base your health premium using risk assessments, and BMI will be one of the many they factor in. So having a BMI in the range of 18.5 to 25 and other healthy living habits can significantly lower the cost of your health premium.

The best way to keep your BMI at an acceptable level is to eat healthy, exercise plenty, and stop any other unhealthy habit. Doing so will result in you feeling a lot better and having a much lower risk of developing health problems.

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