Everything You Need to Know About Your Body Mass Index
Obesity and weight issues plague many people in the United States and other regions. If you listen to the experts, they have several reasons to explain this rise such as fast food dining and fried foods. When speaking with your health care professional or weight loss manager, before they diagnose you as being obese, they may decide to calculate your body mass index or BMI. What is this you may ask? Body mass index is a measurement that is used to dictate where a person falls on the weight scale. To calculate BMI, the weight of the individual in question is divided by the square of that same person’s height. Once this calculation is taken it can be used to determine a person’s level of body fat which helps doctors and weight loss professionals gauge a person’s chances of developing health issues that are associated with their weight.
Considering how important maintaining a healthy weight is, it is easy to see why knowing your BMI is so important. This measurement can help determine the type of diet best suited for you and whether you fall into dangerously high-risk areas. In this blog, we will discuss everything you need to know about your body mass index. This information can be used to help you decide whether you should discuss your BMI with your physician or for those that are suffering from a high BMI, you can learn what you should take away from this information and how to use your BMI to combat your weight issues.
The BMI Categories
As stated above, measuring your BMI is an important tool, especially for those who are struggling to fight overweight tendencies or obesity. Health professionals use this measurement to help you learn your target goal and determine the type of diet or weight loss plan you should attempt in hopes of reaching your target weight. Some may see this process as confusing but knowing your body mass index can put you ahead of the game when it comes to being and maintaining your body’s health. By dividing your weight by the square of your height, doctors and weight loss professionals can place you into one of four categories. Scoring 18.5 or lower often leads to the determination of a person being underweight. 18.5 to 24.9 is the score health professionals consider an ideal or healthy weight. 25 to 29.9 is categorized as being overweight and anyone scoring a 30 or higher is determined to be obese. Once a person reaches the obese category, they can also fall into levels of obesity that is also determined by their BMI. The higher your BMI is, the higher the obesity level.
The Risks of a High BMI
There are several risk factors for those individuals who have a higher than normal body mass index calculation. Here, we will discuss a few of them in hopes of showing just how important maintaining a healthy BMI is.
An elevated body mass index reading is often one of the first signs of cardiovascular issues. Overweight individuals often suffer from high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Both of these issues often require medication to keep under control and can contribute to more significant issues such as stroke and heart disease.
Respiratory issues such as difficulty breathing and, in some cases sleep apnea can also be linked to higher BMI and being overweight. Those who carry around extra pounds often find it difficult to breathe due to their size and build. When these issues also lead to sleep apnea, the inability to breathe when sleeping, it can be quite dangerous. Loss of focus and feeling tired often are both side effects of dealing with these respiratory issues.
Diabetes is one of the most common issues someone with a high body mass index may suffer from. Extra weight, especially when young, can lead to high blood sugar in the body. This illness can be medicated but can lead to highly dangerous issues later in life if not controlled.
Carrying additional weight, like individuals with a high BMI, can often lead to problems with the joints and in some cases the bones. One such issue you may find yourself suffering from is osteoarthritis. This pain often comes hand in hand with a high BMI.
For women, there are a few extra concerns when it comes to having a high BMI. Having issues when trying to get pregnant, and frequent hot flashes during menopause are issues many with weight issues suffer from. Having a high BMI and being overweight also makes a woman at higher risk for breast and endometrial cancer.
These are only a few examples of the serious implications a person can experience by having a high body mass index and being deemed overweight or obese. There are several other medical issues where overweight individuals find themselves at risk. Some of these include gallstones, colon cancer, kidney stones, and liver issues. This is why knowing your body mass index and doing all you can to keep it in the normal or healthy range is so important.
The Risks of Low BMI
When talking about the body mass index, most people assume the issue is a high reading. That isn’t always the case. There are people who suffer from being underweight and the serious complications a BMI that is too low can cause. Here, we will discuss a few of those in hopes of giving you a better understanding of the other side of the BMI spectrum.
Nutrient deficiencies are one of the most common issues that plague those who suffer from being underweight. Often those with a BMI that is considered too low will find themselves calcium, iron, or even amino acid deficient which can lead to much larger issues such as osteoporosis and anemia among other things. Those suffering from severely low BMI also have lower immune systems. This means they get sick more often and develop severe infections. This is due to their small size and their bodies being deficient on the things needed to boost their immunity.
For women, miscarriage is another issue brought on by an overly low BMI. This is due to the malnutrition present in the body for those women who become pregnant while being extremely underweight. Taking the necessary vitamins and nutritional supplements needed may help reduce this risk in some women.
Is the Body Mass Index Accurate?
Determining the accuracy of a person’s body mass index calculation is something many are debating. Several papers have been published in which scientists and other health professionals have debated the accuracy of how BMI is calculated. This is thanks largely in part to the difference between people and their body types. Certain people with his muscle mass or those who lift weights and strive for a larger build can often be considered overweight or obese when the amount of body fat they harbor is quite low. It is also possible for a person to have a high BMI and still be considered healthy. Those who show a high BMI and are considered overweight or obese but don’t struggle from health concerns such as diabetes and heart issues leave many debating on the accuracy of the current system of measuring body mass index.
Over the last few decades, the rise of body mass indexes has been clearly visible. Since the 1970’s American’s have been on a steady rise when it comes to increasing their weight, and of course their BMIs. The can lead to health worries and concerns. Often, people with a high BMI find themselves suffering from weight induced illnesses such as diabetes, struggling to gain control of their weight and most importantly, their health. According to studies, this rising trend in higher BMI is also true in children and teens. Simply by watching television or reading some of the latest news in the world, you will most likely see information on childhood obesity and the complications it can bring later in life. The current trend in America of higher body mass index calculations has been the cause of concern and debate for the past several years.
Tips for Lowering Your BMI
One of the first things a person thinks of when being told they have a body mass index number that is has placed them in the overweight or obese category is they need to lose weight. This, of course, is true but there is a lot more work involved than many may think. The main thing about lowering your BMI is to regain your health. Yes, losing weight often adds the extra feel of looking good, but feeling more fit, being more active, and of course, being overall healthier are the main draws to diet and exercise. Here, we will discuss a few tips to help you on the way to lowering your BMI and feeling better.
Talk to your physician. Speaking with your doctor or health care specialist is your first step in regaining control of your body and lowering your BMI. They understand your health history and issues your weight may be causing. They can help you find the best diet plan and fitness routine for your needs. Keep in mind that in many cases fad diets and quick weight loss plans aren’t always in your best interest. Changing your lifestyle and making healthier choices along with diet and exercise are the way to go for a change that is lasting.
Lower your calorie intake. The most proven form of dieting is sticking to a lower calorie meal plan. Taking in fewer calories than your body burns will help you along your way to losing the desired weight and lowering your body mass index.
Stay active! Yes, for many this can be a challenge. After a long day at work or dealing with the family, it is difficult to make the time to work out properly. If you are serious about losing weight and regaining control of your body mass index, however, you must ensure these things are done. A good, brisk, walk or short ten-minute workout is a great place to start. Once you’ve weaved these types of activities into your day, you’ll find yourself more interested in devoting more time to getting in shape.
Eat right. Often those in need of losing weight mistake a low-calorie diet with abstaining from food. This isn’t the case. To take control of your body mass index, it is important that you still eat but change the types of food you are eating. With a little research, it is easy to find foods that are low in calories but boost metabolism. These types of foods are great to add into your daily intake and get you on the way to losing the weight you need to.
Drink plenty of water. This addition is great for anyone who wants to lower their body mass index or simply feel better all around. Water can be considered great for the body. Good hydration is also key to losing weight and keeping it off.
These are only a few of the things you can do to help lower your body mass index. Making the changes you and your doctor think are best for you will not only help you lower your BMI but will also help you fight against the dangerous health issues related to being overweight and obese.
Tips for Increasing Your BMI
For those struggling with a low body mass index, doing things to help gain a bit of weight is often needed.
Up your calorie intake. One of the most popular ways of doing this is by adding additional calories to your daily intake. On average, adding about 500 calories per day would help a person gain an additional pound of weight per week. Most doctors may not recommend taking on that high of intake, however. Starting with roughly 200 additional calories may help you feel better and start you on the journey of raising your BMI.
Resistance exercises. This is another way to help raise your body mass index. These are the types of exercises and workouts geared toward gaining muscle mass. The key to resistance training or exercise is to work each of the muscle groups and not focus solely on one area. This is why when taking on this type of routine, most people change their focus daily, moving around the body, until all areas are benefiting.
If you find yourself on the dangerous side of the BMI scale, whether you are considered overweight or severely underweight, making the necessary adjustments in your life to regain control of this issue is a must. Being at a healthy overall weight is key for not only living better but feeling better about yourself all around.
Hopefully, this blog has told you some important information about your body mass index and a few tips to helping you maintain a healthy number. If you find yourself with more questions or concerns, do your own research, read the studies done on the subject, and most importantly speak with your doctor about how you can make the changes you need to have a healthy BMI number.
- Livestong.com: Health Risks of Low BMI
- Obesity News Today: Body Mass Index (BMI): What You Need to Know
- SF Gate: How to Increase BMI