What is Your Body Mass Index (BMI)…and Why is it Important?

a few months ago

When you understand your Body Mass Index (BMI) you can gauge your fitness and understand what you need to to achieve the body of your dreams...here's how...

Use Your BMI to Measure Your Health

We all need to keep our weight under control in order to stay healthy. But in order to do that, you need to have a target to aim for. Do you need to lose weight…and if so, how much? One simple and effective way to measure that is using the Body Mass Index (BMI).

How is BMI Calculated?

Body Mass Index is used by medical practitioners to determine if patients are at the right weight for their height. Calculating your BMI is fairly easy. First, you need to divide your weight (in pounds or kilograms) by your height (inches or centimeters) squared. When you get the result of this calculation, you need to multiply that number by 703. This will give you your BMI.

If that sounds complicated, don’t worry…there are lots of BMI calculator tools that will do the math for you. Just Google 'BMI calculator' and you will find plenty of options that will get the job done. 

What is the Ideal Range for Your BMI?

A body mass index of less than 18.5 indicates you are underweight and need to gain weight. If your BMI is in between 18.5 and 24.9, it means you are healthy and don’t need to gain or lose weight. Having a BMI from 25 to 29 indicates that you are overweight. If your BMI is over 30, it signifies obesity and health problems related to obesity. With a high BMI, your doctor would advise you to lose weight before it severely affects your health.

Know Your Health Risks

Knowing your BMI is important because it helps your doctor determine if you are at risk for certain diseases. This information is important for children and adults. Children who have a high BMI (over 30) will have problems in the short term that will continue on to their adult years if they don’t correct the problem. Children with a high BMI will have high blood fat levels, higher blood pressure, and experience insulin resistance. They will also experience social problems like low self-esteem and a decreased quality of life. 

If your BMI is too high, you may be at greater risk of getting health problems such as:

  • high blood pressure
  • cardiovascular diseases
  • type 2 diabetes
  • osteoarthritis
  • high cholesterol levels.

Unfortunately, the list of diseases doesn’t end here. An obese-level BMI could also lead to problems such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and some types of cancer. By knowing your BMI and taking measures to lower it if it is too high, you can avoid a host of health and social problems.


Considerations for Bodybuilders

The BMI is a great health indicator for average people, but bodybuilders may not get an accurate health assessment when using this method. When calculating height and weight, BMI doesn’t take into consideration if that weight is from fat or muscle. A professional bodybuilder can weigh 250 pounds and have a low body fat level, but the results from a BMI calculation will indicate that he is severely obese when that is not the case. In order for bodybuilders to get a true assessment of their body fat, they should also use other means to measure the level of fat in their bodies.

When you understand your Body Mass Index (BMI) you can gauge your fitness and understand what you need to to achieve the body of your dreams...here's how...

Bodybuilders can use a variety of tools to help them determine their level of body fat. One such tool is a skin caliper. The skin caliper measures fat by pinching a section of skin above the hip and placing the skin between the caliper. You will then get a reading that tells the percentage of body fat. Another way of measuring body fat is called anthropometric, which involves the use of a cloth measuring tape. The circumference of the waist is measured and then the result is compared to other results found on a chart.

A third way to determine body fat is called hydrostatic weighing. With this method, a person is placed under water in a specialized tank of water. This method has a 1.5% margin of error. Body fat is determined based on how much a person weighs in the tank. A person with lower body fat will weigh more than a person with higher body fat.

Check Your BMI Today, and Get on the Road to Better Health

Finding out your BMI is an easy calculation and it can give you the knowledge you need to stay or get healthy. If you have a high BMI, you can take steps to lose weight, lower your BMI so you can avoid certain diseases.

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About the author

Joe Bensam

I am an experienced bodybuilder and qualified personal trainer who specializes in strength training, conditioning and building muscle. I am committed to helping others improve their health, fitness and build through good advice on workouts and nutrition.