Understanding Body Mass Index (BMI)

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a great way to access one’s ideal weight in relation to height and mass. BMI is a numerical value calculated with the formula Mass (kg)/(Height (m)) 2 .

BMI also measures the relationship weight has with fat or the lack of it, thus making different scales of healthy and unhealthy weight ranges.

This table categorizes different BMI ranges-

CategoryBMI range – kg/m2
Low18.5 and below
Normalfrom 18.5 to 25.0 (Standard weight is 22)
Obese (Level 1)from 25.0 to 30.0
Obese (Level 2)from 30.0 to 35.0
Obese (Level 3)from 35.0 to 40.0
Obese (Level 4)40.0 and above

As can be seen in the above table, a value that is lower than 18 is under-weight, while a value that is greater than 25 is over-weight. Values that are over 30 get listed under obesity scales of different categories.  BMI values ranging from 20-26 are also considered to be healthy for people without any pre-existing health conditions.

BMI standards are consistent across body types and genders. However, for trained athletes, pregnant women and feeding mothers standard BMI calculations are not the best way to assess obesity.

Obesity is not just about having excess levels of unwanted fat in the body. It multiplies the risk of heart problems, blood pressure, diabetes and bone problems. On the other hand, being under-weight may put one on the risk of developing anemia and reduce immunity.

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