What Is the Importance of BMI?

BMI stands for “Body Mass Index.” It is a tool that is used to determine how much you need to weigh in relation to your height. It is a better way to determine where you stand on the obesity scale than just weight alone.

The BMI is a guideline that gives doctors a place to start when approaching their patients about weight. It has been determined that being overweight increases your risk of certain diseases such as heart attack, stroke and diabetes. A poor diet can raise bad (LDL) cholesterol which in turn can increase plaque development in the arteries and lead to other life-threatening conditions.

To find out where you stand on the chart here is how the Body Mass Index is calculated. First, determine your weight in pounds. Next divide that by your height in inches squared. Remember to square the height before dividing. After that, multiply the answer by 703. This will determine your BMI number.

Here is where you fall on the chart with your resulting number:
* A BMI below 18.5 is considered to be underweight
* A BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered to be the normal range
* A BMI between 25.0 and 29.9 is considered to be overweight
* Any BMI over 30.0 is considered obese.

Any doctor who notices that they have a patient in the overweight to obese range would be remiss if they didn’t discuss it with them. Losing even ten percent of your body weight can greatly reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure and heart disease. Losing more can cut out your greatest risk factor altogether.

Body Mass Index is also determined for children. Their BMI chart is a little different but does the same thing. The parent of a child who is overweight can consult their pediatrician for ways to reverse the condition and improve their health.

For children, the best way to determine their BMI is by letting the doctor determine it. You can use BMI calculators online to get a preliminary number to work with.

The BMI is only a tool. It doesn’t mean that you will develop heart disease. There are other risk factors that go into the disease process, but weight is one of the factors that can be changed by you. Losing weight eliminates obesity from the equation in your life. With that gone, the odds are better that you will not develop health issues at a young age or in the future.