By calculating a simple Body Mass Index test (BMI), you can determine if your weight is healthy or too heavy. The BMI is a tool used to estimate whether your weight falls into the underweight, healthy, overweight, or obese category.
Developed in the 1800s and gaining popularity in the 1950s and 1960s, the tool offers an easy way to determine if your weight is healthy for your height. It does not measure percentage of body fat, but rather gives a statistical range for ideal weight.
How Do You Take the Test?
There are a number of online BMI calculators you can use, or you can do the math yourself. To calculate yourself, simply complete the following equation:
BMI = weight (pounds) x 703
What Do the Results Mean?
A healthy BMI is considered to be anything in the range of 18.5 and 25. If your calculated BMI is lower than 18.5, you would be considered underweight. Anything above 25 is considered overweight, with over 30 being obese and over 40 being morbidly obese.
BMI tests are particularly used in a clinical setting to determine a range where possible warning signs of health problems should be looked into. If your BMI is below 18.5, this may be a sign that you are ill, suffer from anorexia, or be at risk for osteoporosis. If you are in the obese range, this could signify that you are at greater risk for many obesity-related conditions such as coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Things to Consider
BMI figures apply to all adult men and women equally, regardless of their individual frame size and muscularity. Because the test is easy to use and inexpensive, it has become an ideal choice for doctors to calculate risks associated with obesity related diseases. However, in some instances it does not accurately reflect legitimate health risks. Some of these instances may include those people in the following categories:
- Competitive athletes
- Body builders
- Pregnant or nursing women
- Frail or elderly people
If you do not feel that your BMI accurately reflects your body fat content, talk to your doctor about the results and determine if there is another body fat test that you could take.
If you are interested in reducing your BMI, the first step you can take is contacting your doctor and getting a full medical consultation. The doctor will be able to assess your situation including the contributing factors to your condition such as eating, lifestyle and exercise habits, and give you advice on treatment options so that you can lose weight the healthy way.