We often compare our weight with that of the people around us to assess whether it is within healthy limits. The truth is that a healthy weight is different for each person. It depends on many factors such as age, gender, figure, bone density, muscle mass, height, and general health.
The body mass index (BMI) comes to the rescue here. It is a useful guide with which we can assess whether our weight is within healthy limits.
Most of us have heard of BMI, but do we really know what it shows and how to calculate it?
Here are the most important things about body mass index:
- BMI is a measure of relative size, based on a person’s weight and height
- BMI is an easy, affordable, and non-invasive way to measure body fat
- Factors such as age, gender, ethnicity, and muscle mass are not taken into account when measuring BMI
- For adults over 20 years of age, BMI is formed using standard weight measurements, regardless of age or gender
- In children and adolescents aged between 2 and 20 years, BMI is formed depending on the age and gender of the child
- BMI is a reliable indicator of body fat in both adults and children
- BMI can be used as a measure to monitor changes in weight and as a screening tool to identify potential problems with overweight
- It is a little-known fact that the Belgian mathematician, astronomer, and statistician Adolphe Quetelet developed the BMI formula 186 years ago (1832). It received its current name in 1972 from Ansel Keys.
What is BMI?
In short, BMI is an indicator that determines whether your weight is within healthy limits of your height. It is applicable to most adults, men, and women, over 20 years. The body mass index is used as a screening tool that shows whether a person is underweight or overweight, obese or vice versa – enjoys a healthy weight relative to their height.
An interesting fact to note is that BMI values are not age-related and are the same for both sexes.
The body mass index does not measure body fat directly, but according to many scientific studies, it correlates with the results of methods for direct fat measurements. This makes it an easy and affordable alternative.
To summarize, BMI is an indicator that uses a person’s height and weight to calculate body fat in older individuals.
Calculation of body mass index
In order to determine the BMI of an individual, his height and weight are needed. The calculation of BMI is based on the following formula: Bodyweight (kg) / Height (m) 2. For example, if a person weighs 80 kg and is 1.80 m tall, his square height is 3.24. 80 kg divided by 3.24 is a BMI of 24.69. We will understand what this BMI means in the next paragraph.
It is important to know that BMI is not a sufficiently accurate indicator to be used alone as a diagnostic tool. For this reason, it is advisable to take into account a person’s eating habits, physical activity, health, and more. This is exactly what our specialists do when preparing individual diets. They are guided by the Body Mass Index but make an analysis of the background and the additional information they have. In this way, they prepare the most appropriate diet.
You can also use a BMI calculator in order to know if your weight is within healthy limits.
Omissions of the body mass index
BMI does not take into account a person’s measurements, outside of weight and height (muscle mass, waist, hips, thighs, etc.), but it is very likely that an Olympic athlete, for example, has the same height and weight as a person who has zero physical activity. Then they would have the same body mass index, but their measures would be different. For example, muscle weighs more than fat. This means that an athlete whose weight is made up mainly of muscle will have the same BMI as a person whose weight is made up of fat.
Another example is that two people may have different bone densities, but the BMI does not take this into account. A person with osteoporosis, for example, may have a lower BMI due to low bone density and weight, but that would not mean that they are healthier.
It is because of these gaps that the body mass index should be considered in combination with additional information about the individual, but it remains a reliable indicator of whether our weight is within healthy limits.
A balanced and conscious diet remains the surest way to maintain our body mass index within normal limits, and hence our health. If your BMI is out of a healthy weight, it is important to take action as soon as possible.