Body mass index (BMI) Are you at a healthy weight?

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The body mass index, or BMI, aids in distinguishing between being overweight and obese. You’re plainly overweight if you weigh too much. Obesity, on the other hand, is defined as having an extremely high amount of body fat. Your doctor or other health expert will define your weight as healthy, overweight, or obese based on your BMI.

The BMI “describes body weight relative to height and is connected with total body fat content in most adults,” according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). This means that, in almost all circumstances, the BMI will appropriately reflect your weight and proportion of body fat as a function of your height and weight when classifying you as healthy, overweight, or obese.

Calculating your approximate body mass index is simple, though you’ll usually need a calculator to save time. To calculate your BMI, divide your weight in pounds by 703. Divide that figure by your height in inches. Divide the result by your height in inches once more.

Let’s say you weigh 180 pounds and stand 5 feet 10 inches tall.

180 times 703 equals 126,540. Divide this by 70 (70 inches equals 5′ 10′′) to obtain 1807.7. Now divide 1807.7 by 70 once more. Your approximate BMI, or body mass index, is 25.8. If you don’t have a calculator, you can use the free interactive BMI calculator at http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/bmicalc.htm to get the same answer.

If the preceding example seems familiar, you might be astonished to hear that you’re just a tad bit heavier than your doctor would prefer. A BMI of 18.5 to 25 is regarded healthy, 25 to 30 is considered overweight, and 30 or more is deemed obese.

According to the NHLBI, the higher a person’s BMI, the greater his or her risk for health problems. Excess body fat, in addition to raising your BMI, is a well-known health risk. Men and women with waistlines larger than 40 and 35 inches, respectively, are far more likely to develop health issues such as Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

This rule of thumb, like all others, has an exception. Bodybuilders, for example, frequently have a BMI of more than 25, and in some cases, more than 30. However, in this case, the higher BMI reflects the fact that body builders have more muscle mass while having less fat.

Finally, if you’re overweight or obese, there’s only one definite approach to lower your BMI: eat less and exercise more. Your body will burn more calories than you consume, and your BMI will decrease with time.

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