Body Mass Index (BMI) – Why is it important


Body Mass Index (BMI) is the metric that is used to assess the weight-based health risks in an individual. It can be used to classify a person as underweight, normal, overweight or obese. BMI of individuals below 21 years varies with age and gender as they are yet to complete their growth cycle.

How to calculate the BMI?

To calculate adult BMI, the height and weight of the individual must be measured. The weight in pounds is multiplied by 703 and divided by the square of one’s height in inches. The resulting score can lie anywhere between 15 and 30 or above. Scores above 30 indicate obesity and a higher risk of heart diseases and similar health problems. An online BMI calculator can be used to easily arrive at the BMI score of an individual.

How does BMI help?

What is BMI?’ and how does it really help to assess health condition is a source of common wonderment. Contrary to popular belief, BMI does not measure body fat, instead, it approximates the body fat without relying upon body weight as the only measure to assess one’s health. BMI acts as the baseline to check progress while trying to lose weight. It provides useful information to doctors and health professionals about the possible health risks to an individual. A higher BMI is often related to risks such as Type 2 diabetes, higher cholesterol and hypertension.

Are there any downsides to it?

Unfortunately, BMI does not consider the difference between muscle mass and fat. An athlete or a bodybuilder with a very high BMI is not obese as it is their muscle weight that leads to a higher BMI than body-fat. Also, a person with the right BMI score may not necessarily be healthy. He might practice poor diet and have a higher level of cholesterol. Thus, BMI is only an indicative guideline to assess the health condition of a person.

In short, BMI can be used to keep a tab on the consistency on one’s weight. The BMI score, when measured along with other metrics like waistline, helps to control unhealthy weight gain.