Did you know that in the USA, alone, about 66 percent of adults are either overweight or obese? How do you know if you are among them? A simple measure called body mass index (BMI) provides useful estimates of overweight, obesity, and body fat distribution. BMI is used to broadly define different weight groups in adults 20 years old or older. The same groups apply to both men and women.
BMI is a number based on your weight and height. BMI measures your weight in relation to your height, and it is closely associated with measures of body fat. In general, the higher the number, the more body fat a person has. BMI is used by healthcare professionals to screen for overweight and obese individuals and to assess a patient’s health risk.
BMI is a way of checking body “fatness” for most people. It’s not absolutely accurate and there are many other things to consider, but your BMI basically helps you know whether you’re at a healthy weight. However, a person’s BMI score is not the only tool used by healthcare professionals to assess health risk. They also consider waist circumference, blood pressure, and cholesterol level, and blood sugar level, family history of disease, physical activity, and cigarette smoking when assessing a patient’s health risk.
Underweight: BMI is less than 18.5
Normal weight: BMI is 18.5 to 24.9
Overweight: BMI is 25 to 29.9
Obese: BMI is 30 or more
These readings are very important with respect to your overall health risk and body weight.
If your BMI is above 25:
• Cardiovascular (heart and blood circulation) disease
• Gall bladder disease
• High blood pressure (hypertension)
• Certain types of cancer, such as colon and breast cancer
If your BMI is below 20:
• Compromised immune function
• Respiratory disease
• Digestive disease
• Increased risk of falls and fractures.
When to lose weight on the basis of BMI?
Your BMI is 30 or above
Your BMI is between 25 and 30 and you have two or more of the health problems listed above or / and a family history of heart disease or diabetes,
Talk to your doctor and have him or her evaluate your BMI, waist circumference, and other risk factors. Ask your doctor if you are at an increased risk for disease and if you should lose weight. Remember, even a small weight loss can help to lower your risk of developing certain diseases.