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What is the Body Mass Index


Quite a few people have probably heard the acronym BMI, but few really take the time to learn what it means and to understand it. While it might sound like some type of shortcut that people use when texting, it actually stands for body mass index. Even those who know what the term is often do not understand just how important it can be when determining your overall health. Doctors use the BMI to determine a person's body fat, which will put them into a health percentile ranking. The use of a BMI calculator is how you can measure the overall weight and fat density of a person.

Testing the BMI is Simple

Because the BMI calculator does not measure the body fat directly, as some methods do, you will find that this is a simpler way to get a good indication of the amount of body fat that you have. It is fast and inexpensive as well.

The BMI index utilizes a person's height and weight to determine where they fall in the healthy percentile ranking. The ranks on the chart are specific to your age and your sex, so there is not going to be any confusion when it comes to a healthy BMI for a male or female regardless of age.

The BMI ranges are underweight (having a BMI of less than 18.5), normal (having a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9), overweight (having a BMI of 25 to 29.9) and obese (a BMI of 30 and above). You should note that those who are underweight still face quite a few health problems. You should strive to be in the normal range.

BMI calculators are very easy to find on the web. Within just a couple of seconds, you will be able to know where you fit into the above categories. This will let you know if you need to start doing some extra cardio at the gym!

Why is the BMI Important?

Today, we realize that many different types of diseases have direct links with obesity, and even those who are only slightly overweight are going to be at much higher risk of developing diseases. Heart disease, liver disease, diabetes and a host of other conditions have links to obesity. Your BMI may also affect your ability to get quality healthy insurance and even life insurance. Knowing your BMI is the first step. Once you know that you have a high amount of body fat, you will then be able to take subsequent steps to lose weight and get healthy.

Is the BMI Perfect?

Is your body mass index the best or only way that you can measure your overall health? No, it isn't a perfect method. Because some people, such as weightlifters, are going to carry more muscle, they may fall into the overweight category when using only a BMI calculator. You should also consider the amount of activity you get, your waist measurement and your overall health when trying to determine if you are overweight. A doctor will be able to let you know if you have weight to lose to reach an ideal bodyweight. Still, BMI is a good way for most people to get an idea of where they fall.