How to calculate BMI and What it means about Health



Body Mass Index or BMI is a value you get by dividing your body mass (in Kilograms) by your height in meters, squared. You can look at this formula for more clarity- 


                                                  BMI=  Mass (kg) / Height x height (m squared)   


Using this method, you can easily calculate your BMI. Many people rely on BMI as a tool to judge whether they are physically fit or not. The scale of BMI indicates as follows- 


                                                                    Less than 18.5 – Underweight

                                                                            18.5 to 25 – Normal

                                                                               25 to 30 – Overweight

                                                                     More than 30 – Obese



So what does BMI mean? It’s a good idea to calculate your BMI as a starting point. It has been seen that people with higher BMI are at a higher risk of the following-

  1. heart diseases 
  2. high blood pressure
  3. type 2 diabetes
  4. arthritis
  5. liver disease 
  6. sleep apnea
  7. high cholesterol


Calculating BMI is a worthy tool to screen persons and identify risks of diseases. In many cases it is seen that a person with high BMI reported feeling better, both physically and emotionally, after losing excess weight.


However it isn’t the complete picture. There are other factors like a person’s lifestyle which BMI can’t take into account. For example, take a person in the ‘normal BMI’ category who smokes, compared to a person with ‘overweight BMI’ who doesn’t. It is clear that a ‘normal BMI’ person will be at a higher risk of heart disease. 



One must notice that BMI itself doesn’t measure any direct health factor or ‘physiological state’. It does not indicate the presence of any health issue. All it does is measure size. There are many people with overweight BMI who are in fact healthy, while many people with normal BMI who are unhealthy. 


Also, there can be some discrepancies in the measure itself. Because BMI only takes weight into account and not what that weight comprises, it might show a higher BMI for fit people. It will calculate the muscle mass as fat. It might underestimate the weight for older people or ones who’ve recently lost muscle. Also BMI isn’t a good factor for adolescents because during this time their height and weight are constantly fluctuating. Hence BMI doesn’t matter in the growing stage.  


BMI doesn’t directly tell you about cardiovascular health, cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure etc. Also it doesn’t account for where the excess weight is distributed in the body. Research shows that people with fat in the middle of the body are at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease compared to those with excess weight in their arms or legs. 




BMI isn’t a comprehensive tool which tells you about your fitness. You need other checkups and measurements for things which directly reflect your health conditions. One doesn’t always need to rely on BMI measurements without considering other factors in their lives.


That being said, BMI is a good starting point to set your fitness goals. You don’t need to lose sleep over it, but calculating BMI can tell some things about weight and height relation in your body. When going for fitness and physical being, one must go for a general checkup which measures a variety of things like blood pressure, cholesterol etc. While setting your fitness goals you can use BMI to regulate your excess calories intake, while burning off as many calories as possible while exercising. 

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