Last Updated: 24th July, 2022
Body mass index (BMI) is a valuation that results from a person’s mass (weight) and height. Your BMI is determined as the body mass divided by the body height square and which is expressed universally in kg/m² units culminating from mass in kilograms and height in meters.
Earlier, whenever we used to go to a doctor, he used to check our weight as well. But over time, checking and keeping a tab on the weight became a daily habit. The reason being your weight can act as a great determiner of how healthy you are!
But it is not just the weight but your body mass index (BMI) which can say a lot about your health and your risk of health problems. This is what we will be explaining in today’s know your numbers.
What Is A Body Mass Index (BMI)?
BMI is a measure of a person’s body fat as a result of the weight in relation to the height. It is commonly used to classify adult men and women as underweight, overweight or obese. It applies to men and women over 20 years of age; for teens and children aged 2 and above BMI percentile is the best measure to assess body fat. In children, BMI varies with age, gender and pubertal stage.
How To Calculate Your BMI Value?
The BMI is calculated as:
BMI = body weight (in kgs)/[Height (meters)] squared
What Is Normal BMI?
Body mass index is categorized into four key categories according to the World Health Organization (WHO):
Underweight: 15 – 18.5
Normal: 20 – 24.9
Overweight: 25 – 29.9
Obese: Greater than or equal to 30
For example, an individual with a BMI in the range of 15 – 19.9 would be considered as underweight and normal if the BMI is in the range of 20 – 24.9.
Obesity was further classified into three major classes with values as follows:
Class I Obesity: 30 – 34.9
Class II Obesity: 35 – 39.9
Class III Obesity: greater than or equal to 40
However, there is a suggestion for diagnosing overweight and obesity using Body Mass Index (BMI) cutoffs of 23 kg/m2 and 25 kg/m2, respectively, for Indians as per the Consensus Guidelines for Asian Indians (2009).
Also, according to a study in the American Diabetes Association the BMI cutoff point for screening overweight or obese Asian Americans for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes was changed to 23 kg/m2 (vs. 25 kg/m2) because this population has an enhanced risk of diabetes at lesser levels of BMI compared to the general population.
Therefore, we recommend that you follow the stringent Body Mass Index guidelines recommended by your physician, especially if you are at risk for diabetes.
As per a 2015 study published in the Journal Nutrition Today, there has been an increase in Body Mass Index in the general population over the past several decades. As the mortality rates increase with increasing degrees of overweight and obesity, it is important to keep a close tab on your BMI & weight.
The higher the Body Mass Index, the higher the chance of different metabolic conditions like:
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes.
- Heart disease
- Metabolic syndrome
- Coronary artery disease
- Breathing problems
- Gallbladder disease
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
The body mass index is regarded to be a negative percentage metric of body fat, but it is used more broadly as a risk factor for multiple health issues.