Know Your Body Mass Index (BMI)
One of the methods employed to know approximately the quantity of your body fat is called the body mass index (BMI). To calculate your BMI, you divide the number of kilograms you weigh by the number of meters for your height, squaring the meters (m2).
Normally, when persons, who have the same sex and age, have different BMI, the reason lies in the amount of body fat they possess. But, there are cases where this does not apply. Therefore, the BMI number can be in question.
For body builders, certain athletes and pregnant women, BMI numbers can indicate more body fat than what these people actually have.
On the other hand, the seniors and those who are physically disabled can have more body fat than their BMI indicates.
BMI should also not be used for patients with anorexia nervosa, a eating problem, or persons who are too obese as the results will not be accurate.
As such, the BMI is not a good measurement when it comes to weight and possible health problems. In fact, the measurement around the waist is better at predicting possible health hazards faced by a person.
Children and the BMI
The BMI range for healthy adults which is from 18.5 – 24.9 cannot be applied to children.
A rise in the BMI is normally due to the adding of body fat since the adult have stopped growing in height. However, children are still developing, their height increases and the quantity of body fat alters together with their BMI. For instance, preschool years find the children’s BMI getting lower and later getting higher as they become young adults.
So, a comparison between a child’s or teenager’s BMI numbers have to be done with percentile charts for boys or girls and with ages given.
The present children’s BMI charts were created by the US Centre for Disease Control. These charts are good for evaluation of children above 2 years of age who are overweight and exceedingly fat. Even then, these charts ought to be considered merely a help to make decisions on changes in one’s life or the necessity for counseling from a medical practitioner or a nutritionist.
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Certain Exceptions to Normal BMI Indications
BMI cannot know the difference between weight brought on by body fat and weight due to big well-developed muscles. This tells us that there are people with whom the BMI cannot be accurate.
- Physical disabilities persons who are physically disabled and are incapable of walking can be suffering from wasting of muscles. Even though their BMI can be a little lower, this may not be an indicator that they are too thin. Under such circumstances, it may be necessary to seek the assistance of a professional on diet.
- Muscles body builders as well as athletes who possess big muscles are bound to get a high BMI, although they are obviously far from fat.
When adults are shorter than 150 cm, or taller than 190 cm, the BMI cannot be accurate. For the shortest, the BMI indicates more body fat than there actually is while the tallest are given indications of lesser body fat than there actually is. Therefore, BMI is not useful for those persons who are either too short or too tall.
BMI is also unable to give an accurate indication of amounts of body fat for all people throughout the world. For instance, if an Indian, an Asian and a European have the same BMI, the Indian and the Asian may be found to have greater amount of body fat than the European. So, an Indian and an Asian can be overweight at a lower BMI than the European. There is a greater possibility of diabetes as well as cardiovascular problems starting to develop when Asians get BMI of 23 which is very low.
Both overweight or underweight can lead to health problems.
Researchers have found no clear-cut evidence connecting obesity with sickness. Nevertheless, statistics derived from studies on large numbers of persons indicate that there is greater possibility of overweight individuals getting a number of illnesses. For instance, the possibility of death goes up by about 25% when the BMI moves from 25 upwards to 27. If the BMI exceeds 27, the possibility of death shoots up by 60%.
Risks of obesity and a sedentary lifestyle
If your BMI is above 25, an indication of being too fat, and leading a sedentary life, you risk getting:
- Hypertension(High Blood Pressure).
- Gall bladder disease.
- Cardiovascular disease.
- Particular kinds of cancer, like cancer of the colon as well as the breast.
Risks of being Underweight
A person whose BMI is lower than 18.5 is considered underweight. If you are undernourished, you can get:
- Digestive disease.
- Respiratory disease.
- Weakened immunity.
- Greater possibility of falling and suffering fractures.
Body fat distribution and health risk
The measurement around the waist is a more reliable indicator of someone’s risk of poor health than BMI. With a “pot-belly” indicating the large amount of fat at the stomach, no matter what size you are, the possibility of suffering from obesity linked health problems is greater. However, fat deposits at the buttocks as well as the hips do not seem to bring the same health problems. The waist area of men seem to be particularly attractive to fat.
Researchers have found body fat distribution connected to the growing number of people suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, as well as heart and blood vessel circulatory problems. On the whole, the link between the chance of developing health problems and distribution of body fat are as follows:
- Slim with no big, fat stomach: – minimum risk
- Fat with no big, fat stomach:- moderate risk
- Slim with big, fat stomach:- from moderate to greater risk
- Fat with big, fat stomach:- great risk
Measurement of the waist can indicate health risks
The measurement around the waist can be an indicator of the possibility of health problems.
- More than 93 cm: - higher risk
- More than 101 cm: - very high risk.
- More than 79 cm: - higher risk
- More than 87 cm: - very high risk.
The likelihood of fat being found at the waist can be due to an individual’s genes. But, that does not necessary mean that you cannot do something to change that likelihood.
Studies have shown that regular exercise, not smoking as well as consuming healthy fats rather than saturated fats can lower the possibility of getting a “pot belly”.
- BMI is only an estimate of the amount of your body fat.
- Both underweight and overweight can lead to diseases, more so if you lead a sedentary lifestyle.
- The measurement of your waist is a more reliable indicator of health problems than BMI.