BMI is often banded around in the press but what does it actually mean and how should we use it?
A measure of weight compared to height : Body Mass Index or BMI, is an estimate of the amount of body fat you have, dependent on the ratio between your height to weight.
Use a calculator and index to calculate your BMI by taking your weight and dividing it by your height squared. Your weight is measured in kilograms and your height in metres squared.
A healthy BMI for an adult is 20 - 25. Figures that fall below 18 represent someone with very little fat on their body. The further below 18 you go, the chance of developing anorexia increase dramatically. A BMI of 27 or above suggests obesity and is accompanied by all the health risks that are associated with being overweight to this extent.
Health issues relating to obesity include heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Health risks escalate as figures reach beyond 30 and at 35-40, surgery may need to be considered, such as stomach stapling and liposuction.
Diseases relating to obesity can be prevented or even reversed by taking regular exercise and eating a healthy, well balanced diet that can provide you with all the nutrients and energy you require.
This measure of body fat is used by various people to establish the extent of obesity and doctors generally use it to test the health of patients. It is a useful indicator of whether or not you need to lose weight. How much you may need to lose to is dependent on personal ideal weight and weight loss targets may vary from person to person.
It is essential to consider a weight loss programme or diet plan if you have a very high BMI. The development and progression of numerous diseases that can be linked to obesity are inevitable if you are extremely overweight and eat poorly as well as not taking regular physical activity.
To counteract the negative side effects of being obese and prevent the development of illnesses in later life, it is highly advisable to try and lose weight now. This can realistically achieved only through exercising regularly and combining an active lifestyle with a health diet.