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BMI- Body Mass Index

BMI- Body Mass Index

Child obesity is one of the major concerns today for the parents. With the arrival of ready to eat processed foods, eating habits of children have changed rapidly. Children who are obese are at a higher risk of suffering from health related problem once they become adults. It is difficult to diagnose childhood obesity. The best measurement is BMI percentile charts.

What is BMI?

The term BMI was largely unused by the research community until 1972, when Ancel Keys, a nutritional epidemiologist and physician, used BMI as a suitable measure for determining body fat percentage of people.

BMI or Body Mass Index is the standard by which obesity and healthy weight are measured and defined. While calculating BMI a person’s weight in kilograms (kg) is divided by his or her height that is meters squared. (Weight kg / height2m) Earlier normal weight, overweight and obesity were defined by traditional height/weight charts but now The National Institutes of Health (NIH) defines it in terms of BMI. It helps in determining whether a person has ideal body weight or not.

BMI
Underweight 18.5 or less
Normal Weight 18.5 – 24.9
Overweight 25 – 29.9
Obesity 30 or more

A person who is very muscular may have a high BMI without any health risks.

BMI has become a convenient epidemiological metric for identifying and monitoring obesity at national as well as international level. It is the simplest and most cost-effective option for the diagnosis of obesity.

Benefits

  • Quick, convenient and inexpensive way of determining one’s health
  • Provides easily available and consistent measures of obesity
  • Proven convenient for modeling the population-level association between obesity and increased mortality and morbidity.

Now BMI equations and charts are easily available across numerous forms of media and communications. We can easily check our BMI using personal health-tracking applications and devices. These applications have empowered us to freely calculate our own BMI so that we can self-evaluate our health relative to the weight. When we get general idea about the BMI we can make certain changes to our lifestyle in order to stay healthy.

While BMI takes height and weight into consideration, it does not include factors such as:

  • Proportion of muscle mass
  • Waist or hip measurements
  • Distribution of fat

Therefore, when BMI test is done before giving any diet to the patients, all the above factors are also taken into consideration. A Dietitian will make a diet that is according to the client’s body type as well as his BMI. Individuals can get BMI test done using mobile applications but it will only give them a general idea. For proper diagnosis one has to go to professional.

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