LIFESTYLES by Ronda Gates Ronda's Take on BMI

Ronda's Take on BMI (Body Mass Index)

You may have seen articles about the Body Mass Index in your local newspaper or popular health journals because several years ago it became a well publicized standard for determining if people were overweight. BMI is derived by a complicated equation that also uses your height and weight to determine the "normalcy" of your body weight. It was adopted after many documented studies that showed the result had a higher association with body fat than estimates based on height and weight.

The premise is that if your Body Mass Index gets larger, so does your risk for the diseases of overfatness. Health promotion professionals simply encourage people with a high BMI to exercise more and eat less.

BMI is a relatively easy calculation that provides a reference point for telling people what they already know--that they are overfat. I don't like BMI because it provides no vehicle for determining weights of fat vs. weights of non fat so it's impossible to predict a weight goal with the numbers. Moreover A fit person with lots of lean, calorie-burning muscle mass could profile with a high BMI. But here's the formula to compute YOUR BMI:

  • Multiply your weight by 700
  • Divide that result by your height in inches
  • Divide that result by your height in inches again.

  • Lowest risk for men: BMI of 21.9-22.4
  • Lowest risk for women: BMI of 21.3-22.1
  • Surgeon General says overweight is BMI of 25-30
  • Surgeon General says obesity is BMI over 30.
  • Highest risk: BMI over 40

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LIFESTYLES by Ronda Gates
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