What is a BMI Chart?
Body mass index, or BMI, is a way to use a person’s height and weight to determine his or her level of body fat. A BMI chart is an instrument comprised of various combinations of height and weight, which allows individuals to determine their BMI. In other words, the BMI chart allows you to determine if you are overweight, underweight, obese, or a normal weight, without using the mathematical formula.
While BMI does not measure a person’s body fat directly, it does give a fairly close indication of it. However, BMI should be used as one of many indicators of healthfulness.
According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, BMI is used to screen people into weight categories that hold specific indicators for health problems. An inexpensive and easy method, a person’s BMI is a fairly reliable indicator of their body fat.
How is BMI calculated?
A person’s BMI is calculated using a specific formula that was developed in the 19th century by Adolphe Quetelet, a Belgian statistician.
BMI can be calculated in two ways. If you are using the metric system, divide weight in kilograms by height in meters squared. BMI = kg ÷ m2
However, if you are using pounds and inches, calculate BMI by dividing weight in pounds by height in inches squared, multiplied by a conversion factor of 703. BMI = lb ÷ in2 x 703
Since the formula is slightly complicated, most people use a pre-calculated BMI chart that is easily available online or in doctors’ offices.
How are BMI charts interpreted?
BMI charts are used as screening tools rather than diagnostic instruments. They give doctors and health professionals a basic idea about body fat.
According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, for adults aged 20 and older, the weight categories remain the same for all ages and both sexes. A BMI lower than 18.5 indicates that the person is underweight; from 18.5–24.9 is normal; 25-29.9 is overweight; and 30 and above is obese.
While the formula for calculating BMI is the same for adults and children, the interpretation is done using different criteria. Since the amount of body fat changes with age, and varies between girls and boys, the BMI chart is specific to the age and gender of the child.
How reliable is BMI as an indicator of health?
BMI is only one factor of many that is used to determine a person’s health and their tendency to disease. However, your BMI number and body fat are strongly related.
While looking at BMI numbers, it is important to assess markers such as sex, age, and race, since variations do occur. For instance, older adults generally have more body fat than younger people. Women have more body fat than men at the same BMI.
So the National Institutes of Health guidelines have an expanded list of indicators for assessing the chances of a patient developing weight-related diseases.
They include a person’s waist circumference, since abdominal fat is a risk predictor, and other risk factors such as the person’s lifestyle, family history of disease, prevalent conditions such as hypertension, high triglycerides, and more.
How can I lower my BMI?
Whether you are overweight or obese, getting your body weight and body fat within the normal range is likely to help you lower your risk of obesity-related diseases in addition to improving your quality of life.
There are easy steps that you can take that can help you on your path to healthfulness. Talk to a fitness professional before you start any exercise regime to make sure that you are doing the exercises and potential weight training correctly.
Additionally, make sure you speak to your doctor, since you want to rule out any medical condition that might be causing you to gain or lose weight or not lose it quickly enough, in spite of following a healthy lifestyle.
Most weight-loss plans are a combination of healthy eating and increased physical activity. Make sure you are eating nutritionally balanced meals. Skipping breakfast is a bad idea because your body needs that surge of energy to start up your metabolic burn. Try and eat small, but frequent, meals every three to four hours.
Drink plenty of water. Dehydration often sends the same signal as hunger to our brains, leading to unnecessary overeating. So drink at least one-and-a-half liters of water a day.
Avoid consuming packaged and processed foods as well as drinks. They are usually loaded with preservatives and high amounts of sugar and fats.
Finally, make sure you are getting plenty of exercise. Whether you favor group exercise classes, jogging in the park, or treadmills in a gym, try to get between 30 to 60 minutes of workouts each day, at least five days a week. Adding resistance training such as crunches, pushups, and squats is also recommended since developing muscles will help you burn calories faster, besides giving you a toned and fit appearance.
If you are looking to gain weight, you will need to increase your calorie intake. Additionally, talk to a professional nutritionist about taking supplements that could assist in weight gain.