BMI Benefits – Why Knowing Your BMI Can Still Be a Valuable Tool

Understanding your BMI is an extremely valuable tool to maintain a healthy weight. The way to check it, is via a trusted BMI calculator which should be used during each step of your weight loss and weight management journey to keep your body mass index and overall health, in check.

There are numerous ways in which you can ascertain if you need to lose or control your weight. You can weigh yourself on the scales, measure your waist circumference or entrust in BMI findings. Each has their own merit and realistically, should be used in conjunction with each other and not in isolation.

For the purpose of this article, let’s look at the benefits of knowing your BMI.

Understanding The Body Mass Index

BMI (Body Mass Index) is a universal tool which can be valuable in indicating whether or not your body weight falls within a healthy weight range. The BMI formula estimates your body fat based on your height in either kilograms or pounds – and weight in either inches or centimetres. The BMI is a relevant measurement for adults, however, it does come with some limitations.

This calculation ‘estimates’ rather than directly measures your individual body fat. The calculation takes into account height and weight, but it doesn’t take into account your body composition meaning how much of your body weight is fat mass in comparison to how much is muscle mass. Keep in mind, muscle weighs more than fat. Other factors such as age, gender and ethnicity can also influence the relationship between BMI and body fat.

BMI Considerations

Whilst understanding your BMI is helpful when trying to manage your weight, the following groups of individuals should not use the BMI:

  • Athletes, body builders or those with a higher proportion of muscle mass.
  • Elderly as they lose muscle mass.
  • Pregnant or lactating women.

If you fall under one of the above categories and are concerned about your weight, we strongly recommend you seek advice from a healthcare practitioner.

BMI Helps Identify Health Risks

Studies have shown the higher your body mass index is, the more at risk you are for certain diseases linked with excess weight, including:

  • diabetes
  • arthritis
  • liver disease
  • several types of cancer (such as those of the breast, colon, and prostate)
  • high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • high cholesterol
  • sleep apnea

What Is A Healthy BMI For Children Or Teens?

The healthy BMI range for adults is 18.5 to 24.9 however, children and teens are constantly growing, which makes it difficult to have set values for BMI cut-offs. For adults who have stopped growing, an increase in BMI is usually caused by an increase in body fat. But as children and adolescents continue to grow, their amount of body fat changes and so will their BMI. For example, BMI usually decreases during the preschool years and then increases into adulthood.
For this reason, a BMI calculation for a child or adolescent is not advised. They are at times considered useful for the assessment of overweight and obesity in children aged over two years. However, BMI charts should be used only as a guide to indicate when to make small lifestyle changes, and when to seek further guidance from a doctor or a dietitian.

BMI Calculations

Once you have calculated your BMI, you can work out your healthy weight range.

If you have a BMI of:

  • Under 18.5 – you are considered underweight and possibly malnourished.
  • 5 to 24.9 – you are within a healthy weight range for young and middle-aged adults.
  • 0 to 29.9 – you are considered overweight.
  • Over 30 – you are considered obese.

Knowing your BMI is still a reliable, universally trusted calculation but should be used in conjunction with regular weigh-ins and also measuring your waist circumference.

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