BMI is body mass index. It is almost always found referred to simply as IMC. It is an estimate of how much body fat a person has, calculated by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by their height in meters squared. Don’t be intimidated by the numbers, there are plenty of calculators online that generate your BMI when you enter your stats.
The resulting number can help you determine if you are at a healthy weight. Here’s what your number means:
Under 18.5 = underweight
18.5 to 24.9 = normal weight
25 to 29.9 = overweight
30 or more = obese
BMI has long been a popular tool for measuring body fat because it’s easy to use and doesn’t require any fancy equipment for the calculation. This simplicity, however, has a downside: it sometimes gives an overly simplified picture of your health.
How does BMI differ between men, women and other groups of people?
The BMI formula is universal: it is the same for adults and children (although the numbers are interpreted differently for young people, as gender and age are taken into account). In adults, BMI is interpreted the same way for men and women. But there are some differences between certain demographics when it comes to body fat.
Women generally have more body fat than men. Women should aim for 20-21% body fat, while men should have between 13-17%.
Asians generally have more than Westerners.
Older people generally have more body fat than younger people.
Athletes generally have less than non-athletes.
BMI tends to be problematic in older people. BMI isn’t as useful in older people because it doesn’t take into account that many people get smaller as they get older. Which can lead to underestimated fat levels. BMI can also lead to underestimated fat mass in older people because as you age, fat mass usually replaces muscle mass. So while an older adult may have a normal BMI, they may have a high body fat percentage. Researchers call this “normal weight obesity,” which puts people at increased risk for metabolic syndrome and various cardiovascular problems.
These discrepancies have led some researchers to suggest that BMI targets should be different for older people. A meta-analysis examined the relationship between BMI and the risk of death in people aged 65 and older. This study found that the lowest risk of death was in people with a BMI of around 27.5, which can be considered overweight. The study showed that in older people, a BMI between 22 and 23 actually increases the risk of death, even if it is within the normal range.
Why a healthy BMI is important for your overall health
Is BMI just a number to track? Not exactly. It can be useful to know if your weight is in a healthy range. Or if your BMI has fallen outside the normal range, it tells you when you may be at risk for various health issues.
A BMI of 30 or more, for example, means you are obese, which can lead to:
High blood pressure
Type 2 diabetes
When your BMI increases, you begin to develop body fat issues. You start having joint issues, sleep apnea, acid reflux, those kinds of issues that are directly related to body mass.
Being thin is also dangerous for your health
Being underweight (with a BMI of less than 18.5) presents its own challenges. A study has shown that it can help increase the risk of death. Although these deaths are more likely to be the result of unnatural causes (such as accidents or suicides) rather than cancer, cardiovascular disease or respiratory disease. This may be because people who are underweight are at an increased risk of injury, and once they are injured, they generally have a harder time recovering.
* The information and services available on pressesante.com in no way replace the consultation of competent health professionals. [HighProtein-Foods.com]