What is a BMI? Knowing the Data Could Save Your Life
BMI is commonly linked and associated to weight and health statuses. Though BMI is used to indicate a normal or unhealthy weight, its identification may tell a greater story. In fact, it may just even save your life!
What Does BMI Mean?
BMI is an acronym for body mass index and less commonly known as the Quetelet index. It is a common measure of fat based on weight (mass) and height and further defined as the body mass divided by the square of the body weight, largely expressed in kilograms and meters squared. Though it does have various stigmas associated to its use, BMI is an objective and cost-effective tool to gauge weight status and potential consequences of an unhealthy weight.
What Do the Numbers Tell Me?
The numbers are calculated from a convenient body mass index equation or with these equations. Despite the route taken to achieve a BMI score, the computed number is then categorized. Below depicts the placement of BMI scores and is suggestive of a weight category.
What Risks Can a BMI Determine?
BMI is more than a number identifying weight status, whether it be underweight, normal, overweight, or obese. And with overweight and obesity on the rise, higher BMIs are not too terribly surprising to come across. But increasing BMIs tells a deeper story than carrying around excess weight. Heavier individuals (with increased fat mass) increase their odds of developing chronic diseases including diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, cancer, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, and sleep apnea. Though treatments exist for all conditions, developing such diseases may lead to further health consequences and compromise quality of life and/or shave off precious years of life.
It is important to realize compromised health is not only directed towards higher numbers. In contrast to an increasing BMI, a low BMI may be just as destructive to health. An "underweight" classification may be associated with malnutrition or even help pinpoint an eating disorder. Especially for a prolonged period of time, a low BMI increases the likelihood of fragile bones, anemia, hair loss and dry skin, infertility and a weakened immune system. Moreover, a research study found lower BMIs were more at risk of death from respiratory disease and miscarriage in women.
Though BMI does not tell the exact health story and health is not solely based on weight, knowing your number can be helpful and eye opening. If you find your weight to be approaching overweight or obese, it is never too late to take control! Start eating a healthful diet to redirect the risk of chronic disease associated with an unhealthy weight. Focus on whole foods - whole grains, fresh produce, lean proteins, legumes, dairy products, and healthy fats - rather than packaged, convenience foods. Partaking in a physical activity regimen with both aerobic exercise and resistance strength training can further align with positive health goals. If desiring assistance, bistroMD offers healthy meals right to your doorstep along with ongoing support from nutritional experts!