What is the Body Mass Index (BMI) and How to Calculate it
If you're trying to lose weight—or just improve your lifestyle— knowing your Body Mass Index and its significance can help you draft a better plan of action. But what exactly is Body Mass Index, and why does it matter?
The body mass index, also known as BMI, is your weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters. The result of this equation provides a snapshot of your weight category, with a high BMI representing a higher level of body fat.
Keep in mind, however, that BMI is not an exact science. As well as measuring your BMI, healthcare professionals may take other factors into account when assessing if you're a healthy weight. Always consult with your doctor.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), BMI can be grouped into four categories:
- Below 18.5 – you're in the underweight range.
- Between 18.5 and 24.9 – you're in the healthy weight range.
- Between 25 and 29.9 – you're in the overweight range.
- Between 30 and 39.9 – you're in the obese range.
For most adults, an ideal BMI is in the 18.5 to 24.9 range.
How do you calculate it?
To calculate your body mass index, measure your weight and height. Then divide the weight expressed into kilograms, by the square of the height in meters: the number you will get is your BMI.
BMI - Weight (kg) / [Height (m)]2
Let's say your weight is 72 kg and your height is 165 cm (which is 1.65 m)
>>> Your BMI then is:
72 / 1,652
72 / (1.65 x 1.65)
72 / 2,7225 - 26.45
According to experts, increasing BMI (especially for people on the overweight and obese range) can increase the risk of diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, joint diseases, hormonal dysfunctions and cancers. While, in women of childbearing age, an increase in BMI can lead to alterations in the menstrual cycle or difficulty conceiving.
Getting Down to It: What Your BMI Means
Underweight: It may be a sign that you are not feeding properly or that you are suffering from another kind of ailment. Speak with your doctor and determine if you are getting enough nutrients, and if your diet is the right diet for you.
Healthy weight: keep it up, you're doing a great job!
Overweight: This could be because of a number of health reasons. It could mean you are only slightly off your ideal BMI target. You should work with a specialist to find a diet and exercise plan that works for you.
Obese: Being overweight means you are quite far from your BMI target. Talk to a doctor, who will help you lose weight by recommending the correct lifestyle to get back on track.
However, remember, your Body Mass Index is not an exact science and should be evaluated and interpreted on an individual basis.
The BMI Should Be Interpreted
It is important to note that the body mass index takes into account only weight and height, but ignores essential aspects such as the composition of that body weight, age or sex, nutrition or lifestyle. For example, BMI does not distinguish between the extent of muscle mass, bone mass and fat accumulation. As the muscle is denser than fat, it follows that athletes and athletes, in general, are found to have a higher BMI, even if their body fat percentage falls into a healthy category. However, for most people, BMI is a good indication of body fat.
In addition, your body mass index is not fixed: you have the power to make changes. One of the ways to change your BMI is to follow a full Curves workout combined with a healthy and balanced diet. Remember, by keeping your body mass index within a healthy range; you can reduce the risk of lifestyle-related diseases, be happier and healthier.
That's why at Curves, we encourage monthly individual coaching sessions, during which you can evaluate your progress and discuss your achievements. Your coach will discuss your goals with you and recommend a plan of action to help you achieve your targets.
If you want to discover all the benefits of the Curves program, book a free consultation now or contact the nearest Curves Club.