Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Know your BMI

Body Mass Index (BMI) is the preferred method of measurement for doctors and researchers studying obesity. The formula used to calculate an individual's BMI is weight (in kilograms) divided by height (in meters) squared. There are also differences in the interpretation of the BMI score of children as they grow.

Typically, the BMI will decrease in preschoolers and increase in adults. With children, the chart shows the percentile for the age of the child. For example, if a boy who is 2 years of age has a BMI of 19.3, he is in the 95th percentile for his age, meaning that 95 percent of children have a lower BMI score than he does.

BMI measurement is an efficient way to measure weight status as compared to the rest of the population, and is used to predict the risk for weight-related health problems. Although it is correlated with body fat, its implications differ according to age and sex.

Women generally have more body fat than men, for example. Furthermore, a muscular athlete and an out-of-shape person can have the same BMI score. Older people tend to have more body fat than younger adults with the same BMI. Interpretation of the BMI scores, therefore, is not an exact science.

How is BMI related to overall health?

The BMI rates show the effect that greater body weight has on increased risk for: cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoarthritis, certain cancers, and ultimately, premature death.

In adults over 20 years of age, the BMI chart shows BMI scores of less than 18.5 as underweight, while the normal range should be between 18.5 and 24.9. Those with scores falling between 25.0 and 29.9 are deemed overweight, while those at 30.0 and above are classified as obese. Another measurement used to assess health risks is waist measurement.

When coupled with the BMI chart score, women with waist measurements of greater than 35 inches, and men with greater than 40 inches in circumference, are considered to be at even greater risk for health problems than those with lower waist measurements -- even if their BMI scores are merely in the overweight as opposed to the obese range.

It is important to note that BMI is only one indicator of relative health or risk for disease. With weight control and exercise, BMI scores can be brought into the healthy range, and overall health can be considerably improved.

BMI
(kg/m2)

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

28

29

30

35

40

Height
(in.)

Weight (lb.)

58

91

96

100

105

110

115

119

124

129

134

138

143

167

191

59

94

99

104

109

114

119

124

128

133

138

143

148

173

198

60

97

102

107

112

118

123

128

133

138

143

148

153

179

204

61

100

106

111

116

122

127

132

137

143

148

153

158

185

211

62

104

109

115

120

126

131

136

142

147

153

158

164

191

218

63

107

113

118

124

130

135

141

146

152

158

163

169

197

225

64

110

116

122

128

134

140

145

151

157

163

169

174

204

232

65

114

120

126

132

138

144

150

156

162

168

174

180

210

240

66

118

124

130

136

142

148

155

161

167

173

179

186

216

247

67

121

127

134

140

146

153

159

166

172

178

185

191

223

255

68

125

131

138

144

151

158

164

171

177

184

190

197

230

262

69

128

135

142

149

155

162

169

176

182

189

196

203

236

270

70

132

139

146

153

160

167

174

181

188

195

202

207

243

278

71

136

143

150

157

165

172

179

186

193

200

208

215

250

286

72

140

147

154

162

169

177

184

191

199

206

213

221

258

294

73

144

151

159

166

174

182

189

197

204

212

219

227

265

302

74

148

155

163

171

179

186

194

202

210

218

225

233

272

311

75

152

160

168

176

184

192

200

208

216

224

232

240

279

319

76

156

164

172

180

189

197

205

213

221

230

238

246

287

328

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