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Do you know your body mass index or BMI? It is a calculation to determine if you are at a healthy weight based on your BMI. Why is it worth knowing? Almost two centuries ago, mathematician, astronomer, and statistician Adolph Quetelet devised the BMI calculation as a fair measure to good health. In 1973, Ancel Keys termed the expression “body mass index” to express the relationship between height and weight as a single number.

Why is BMI important? BMI measurements can indicate potential health challenges in one number. Excess weight causes blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels to rise, which can result in diabetes. As individuals develop healthy lifestyle changes, the goal is to maintain a 3-5% weight loss which will result in improvements and lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. A BMI measurement is an easy way to monitor and maintain a healthy weight.

What is normal? Generally, people at a healthy weight, the body mass index should fall between 18.5 and 25, according to the American Heart Association. A BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight, over 30 is considered obese. However, muscle weighs more than fat, so for people who lift weights and have toned muscles, their BMI could be high even if they are not overweight.

Why reduce BMI? Adjustments to diet and activity levels can reduce BMI. A poor diet can be the cause of a high BMI; the best solution is to improve diet with healthier choices. Consider our Ideal Protein program to help establish those important lifestyle habits. Those who strive to keep the weight off long-term feel more satisfied and can maintain a consistent BMI over time.

What does it all mean? As a start, a BMI measurement is a great way to evaluate basic health. It is not flawless, though- the BMI measurement doesn’t account for gender, pregnant women, the elderly, children, or ethnicity. Because BMI does not measure body fat directly, it should not be used as a diagnostic tool. However, it should be used as a measure to track weight status and as a screening tool to identify weight problems in individuals.

Keep in mind: as a single measure, BMI is not a total measure of health, but it is a helpful starting point for people who struggle with weight fluctuations. The BMI measurement provides a quick snapshot of weight in relationship to height. BMI measurements should be used in conjunction with other tests, like the Ideal Body Composition Analysis that measure visceral fat level, basal metabolic rate, and total body water content.

Do you know your BMI or want tips on reducing your BMI? Request your free Body Composition Analysis to get your BMI and other measurements today!