What is Your BMI?

Obesity_and_BMIThese days when you go to your doctor, the topic of weight is often discussed in terms of body mass index (BMI) rather than pounds alone. BMI is a measure of body fat based on one’s height and weight. BMI is a fairly reliable indicator of body fatness for most people. BMI does not measure body fat directly, but can be considered an alternative for direct measures of body fat. Additionally, BMI is an inexpensive and easy-to-perform method of screening for weight categories that may lead to health problems.

For adults 20 years old and older, BMI is interpreted using standard weight status categories that are the same for all ages and for both men and women. For children and teens, on the other hand, the interpretation of BMI is both age- and sex-specific.

The standard weight status categories associated with BMI ranges for adults are shown in the following table:

BMI Weight Status

Below 18.5 Underweight

18.5 – 24.9 Normal

25.0 – 29.9 Overweight

30.0 and Above Obese

It is important to remember that BMI is only one factor related to risk for disease. For assessing someone’s likelihood of developing overweight- or obesity-related diseases, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute guidelines recommend looking at two other predictors:

* The individual’s waist circumference (because abdominal fat is a predictor of risk for obesity-related diseases).

* Other risk factors the individual has for diseases and conditions associated with obesity (for example, high blood pressure or physical inactivity).

If you are trying to lose weight, BMI is one of the ways to track your progress, but you can get a clearer picture of your body composition if you use that number along with weighing yourself on a reliable bathroom scale and using a tape measure to track your waist circumference.

Consult with Dr. Shawn Tsuda to see what weight-loss options are available for you.

Read more about this topic online at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/BMI/bmicalc.htm

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