Because your weight alone is not a reliable way to tell whether or not you’re within the healthy range, the BMI was created by scientists and takes into account gender, height and age to give a more accurate estimation than the scales alone.
To calculate your BMI you use the official formula devised by the 1830’s by Belgian mathematician Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet that goes like this: (weight (kg) / (height (m) ²). For example, if John weighed 100kg and was 200cm tall, his BMI would be 25 (100/200² = 0.0025).
There are many online calculators you can use to give you your BMI, all you need to know is your weight and height.
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Sometimes the BMI is not accurate and a physician should be consulted to give a more accurate measurement. People who are very muscular, for example, will have a high BMI because muscle weighs more than fat but they are not overweight as their BMI suggests.
In most cases, your BMI will be able to tell you the following:
• Under 18.5 – you are considered underweight.
• 18.5 to 24.9 – you are within a healthy weight range for young and middle-aged adults.
• 25.0 to 29.9 – you are considered overweight.
• Over 30 – you are considered obese.
If you do not fall into the healthy BMI range you are susceptible to many health conditions that are a result of being underweight, overweight or obese.
Being underweight (BMI less than 18.5) may mean that you aren’t receiving the nutrients your body needs to function optimally. Health problems like cancer, osteoporosis, digestive diseases, anaemia, fertility problems and a lowered immune system can arise.
With a BMI over 25, you are considered overweight or obese. Diseases and conditions like hypertension, diabetes, cancers, gallbladder disease, sleep apnoea, cardiovascular disease and mental health problems like depression can present unless you reach a healthy weight.
So give calculating your BMI a go and if you don’t fit into the healthy range maybe it’s time to get your health in check either by eating healthily, exercising or drinking less alcohol. Feel free to visit your doctor who’ll be able to give you a hand along the way in your journey to optimal health.