Are you aware of your BMI? These days people are becoming more aware of theirs, just as they aware of their cholesterol.

If you do not know your BMI, you can use an online BMI calculator. You only need to know your weight and height. You can also measure it yourself using the following formula:

BMI = Weight(pounds) / Height(inches)*Height(inches)* 703

What your BMI indicates

BMI is a measurement of your size that considers both your height and weight. We can recall using charts a few years back that required you to find your height on the left side of the chart and then move your finger to the right to see your “ideal weight” from options specified under the small, medium, or big “frame size” measurements. These measurements are based on “actuarial” numbers, which are estimates used by life insurance agencies to calculate the chances of living up to an old age based on evidence from thousands of individuals. These measurements were difficult to understand, and it was never straightforward how to determine a person’s “frame size.” BMI is similar in that. It represents the connection with your height and weight as a single number independent of your “frame size.”

What is a healthy BMI?

A BMI of 18.5 to 25 is normal. A BMI ranging from 25 to 30 is overweight, and a BMI ranging from more than 30 is deemed obese. If a person’s BMI is less than 18.5, they are considered underweight.

As per our bariatric surgeon in Mumbai, BMI is not flawless, like most health indicators. Pregnancy or high muscle mass, for example, may disturb the findings, and it may not be a reliable indicator of fitness for children or the elderly.

So, why is BMI important?

In particular, the higher your BMI, the greater your chance of developing a variety of obesity-related disorders, such as:

  • Arthritis 
  • Diabetes 
  • Liver Disease
  • A variety of cancers
  • Blood pressure that is too high 
  • Sleep apnea  
  • High cholesterol

According to the World Health Organization, about 3 million people die each year due to obesity or overweight. Furthermore, people who have high BMIs often feel stronger, both physically and mentally, when they lose extra weight, regardless of illness.

But BMI may not be as important as you think.

It is important to remember that BMI does not measure health or a physiological condition that can suggest any disease involvement. It is a measurement of your height and weight. Many individuals who have high or low BMI are safe, and many people with a medium BMI face severe health complications. Indeed, an individual with a healthy BMI who smokes and has a long history of heart disorder may have a higher chance of early cardiovascular complications than a physically healthy non-smoker with a high BMI.

Even though a higher BMI raises the risk of many severe health complications, certain studies have shown that people with a higher BMI live longer on average.

So, can we stop giving too much priority to BMI?

According to few researchers, BMI alone is not sufficient to indicate metabolic fitness. For instance, it was discovered that:

  • About half of those classified as overweight by BMI had a balanced “cardiometabolic profile,” which included average blood pressure, blood glucose, and cholesterol levels.
  • Many people with a healthy BMI have an abnormal cardiometabolic profile.

BMI as a single metric cannot detect cardiovascular disease or health. The same we can say for cholesterol, sugar levels, or hypertension. Although cardiovascular health is crucial, it is not the only indicator of wellbeing. Furthermore, many reports suggest that obese people are more likely to experience diabetes or other harmful health complications over time.

In conclusion, we can say that BMI is not a complete indicator of wellbeing when used alone. However, it is always good to start with serious problems that are more common when an individual is overweight. Knowing your BMI is, in my opinion, a smart thing. However, it is still essential to understand the limitations.