All About BMI
We are all concerned of our health. Many are the times when we obsess about what the scale will tell about our weight for the day. But is just monitoring our weight enough? How can we calculate our ideal weight? Well, that's where the BMI comes in.
BMI stands for Body Mass Index. It is basically a diagnostic tool in identifying weight problems within a population. This formula was invented by Adolphe Quetelet in the 19thcentury during the development of his "social physics", but it wasn't until the 1970's when it was coined as BMI by Ancel Keys.
BMI is calculated by dividing your body weight by the square of your height. Kind of like this:
BMI = weight (kg)
height x height (m2)
Supposedly, you will be given an amount describing whether you are underweight, overweight, or obese. Given this calculation, a person's optimal weight will be calculated as 18.5 to 24.9.
Measurements less than 18.5 means that you're underweight while measurements ranging from 25.0 to 29.9 denotes an overweight body. If you measure 30.0, then you are considered obese.
Be aware though that the BMI calculation does not take into account factors like your frame size or your muscularity. For example, if you are an athlete, your BMI may fall in the overweight category despite the fact that you have lean body.
This is due to the fact that muscles are much denser than fat and contributes to your overall body weight.
In 2005, a study was published in the Lancet stating that slightly "overweight" people have a slightly less risk of heart diseases than people with "normal" body weight, while two more articles published in the New England Journal of Medicine supported the popular notion that being overweight is a health risk.
This inconsistency has given rise to the controversy that the BMI is an inadequate tool in correctly describing a persons who are merely overweight.
You can have a BMI of 26 or 27 just because you are in good shape and still be called overweight. Some have suggested using body measurements in conjusction with the BMI to give a more accurate image of a person's health.
Despite claims to inaccuracy, it is still used in the medical profession as a guide for physical assessment of a patient's health and not a sole basis for diagnosis.
While they may be an acceptable formula for sedentary individuals, some adjustments should be made for athletes, children and the elderly to give a more accurate representation. Also, the BMI, as it is, is an accurate enough measurement in detecting very overweight or very underweight people.
So while there is no alternative yet, you can use the BMI as a guide to stay fit and healthy. Just remember to always have a talk with your health care provider to monitor your weight loss or weight gain progress closely.
Warren Tattersall has been a full time nutritional consultant for over a decade and works with people all over the work to help them improve their health, increase their personal energy levels and to use supplements to assist with diet related health issues.
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To have a free personal consultation with him to learn how incorporating nutritional supplements may improve your health concerns just visit “The Health Success Site” and download the free health report available there, or email warren@TheHealthSuccessSite.com to request a personal one-on-one consultation by email or phone.