WHAT IS BMI?

Am I overweight? If that’s the question you’re asking yourself then here is a method that can help you answer that.

Just because you are not a size zero doesn’t mean you are fat or obese. So after saying that you would ask me how should you find out whether you are fat or thin. There are several assessment methods which can help you but the most commonly known and used is BMI (body mass index).

How to calculate BMI?

This formula for obesity measurement dates back to 1800s and was made an international standard of measurement in 1980s. It calculates the body fat of a person and the disease risk based on that individual’s height and weight. It’s a simple formula:

 

BMI = Weight in kilograms divided by (Height in meters) square.

 

What does your BMI depict?

It is used by doctors and nutritionist to decide whether a person is obese, overweight or thin and whether the person is at risk to a disease due to the weight.

Although BMI doesn’t measure body fat directly, research has indicated that it does correspond with direct measures of body fat, which include underwater weighing and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). Because it isn’t practical for you or your doctor or nutritionist to weigh you underwater or perform a DXA scan, BMI is an easy, inexpensive way to see whether you’re overweight or have a high percentage of body fat. For most people, BMI is a good estimate of body fatness.

Once you have calculated it time to compare it with the BMI categories that follow.

– BMI – 18.5 or less – Underweight – Increased risk

– BMI – 18.6 – 24.9 – Healthy weight – Low risk

– BMI – 25.0 – 29.9 – Overweight – Increased risk

– BMI – 30.0 – 39.9 – Obese – High risk

– BMI – 40.0 or more – Morbid obesity – Very high risk

 

If your BMI score is say 16, then you need to pump some iron and eat smartly to gain some muscle mass, and if it is way above say 27 or around, then it is time to hit the gym. And since the BMI includes just your weight and height and doesn’t assess the body composition, family history, lifestyle and blood work, it can’t be considered as a sure-shot measurement to determine whether you are healthy or unhealthy. However, it proves to be a good start to assess whether your weight can be problematic or not.

Experts consulted: Dr Varun Katyal, founder, Health Rebalance and nutritionist Kavita Devgan.

 

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