Interesting Facts About BMI – Body Mass IndexYour Body Mass Index, also known as BMI, is a measure of a person’s height-weight relationship. It is calculated by using the following equation:
BMI = (weight (in kilograms))/(height ^2 (in metres))
This equation will produce a number, and this number will be your BMI. In the picture above you can see what a BMI chart looks like, and you can see where you fall on it.
There are many myths and misconceptions surrounding BMI – many people believe it to be an inaccurate and flawed way of measuring healthiness, while others use it as a reliable indicator of their overall health – both approaches are probably wrong. In this article, I am going to tell you 15 interesting facts about the notorious Body Mass Index, and hopefully answer some of your questions about it.
The Body Mass Index has its roots in the works of a Belgian astronomer, sociologist and statistician named Adolphe Quetelet, who created what he referred to as the field of “social physics” between 1830 and 1850. It was not until more than a century later, however, in 1972, that the term ‘BMI’ was coined by American physiologist Ancel Keys. BMI has various categories which are used to classify people based on the relationship between their height and weight. These are Underweight, which goes from 16 to 18.5 BMI; Normal weight, which goes from 18.5 to 25 BMI; Overweight, which goes from 25 to 30 BMI; and Obese Class I to Obese Class VI (Hyper Obese) which ranges from 30 to about 60 BMI. Having a BMI that is over 30 greatly increases one’s chances of contracting diseases such as diabetes and cardiac disease. BMI can be an accurate predictor of children’s weight. A longitudinal study of 4700 children was conducted wherein their weights were recorded from birth until the age of eight. The study highlighted the fact that children who have an above average BMI at an early age may be at higher risk of obesity later on. Although BMI is not perfect, it can still be useful in many cases. In recent years, many have criticised BMI for being an inaccurate indicator for evaluating a person’s health. This is partly true, however, BMI is not really meant to be a comprehensive test that accurately establishes whether someone is healthy or not. It is simply an equation that helps measure a person’s height in relation to their weight, and can, in some cases, be a useful health predictor, as some research has shown. Despite this, it the fact that it has many flaws still holds true.
The best way to use BMI measurements would be to do so in conjunction with other tests as a means to get more conclusive results. Other tests include waist-hip ratio, waist-to-height ratio, and body composition tests (which are used to measure body fat and lean body mass).
- Doing exercise is always useful; however, the main health aspect people should be considering when wanting to lower their BMI is diet. In regards to exercise, the best type to reduce BMI is cardiovascular exercise.
- The incidence of Coronary heart disease is proportional to BMI. There appears to be a correlation between Coronary heart disease (CHD) and a high Body Mass index. Interestingly, even very small increases in BMI are correlated with CHD incidence.
- One of BMI’s greatest weaknesses is that it does not differentiate between muscle mass and fat mass. It is particularly inaccurate when it comes to people who are very athletic, as their BMI may classify them as overweight despite the fact that they are not.
- Some scientists claim that BMI’s unreliability in measuring the risk of heart attack, stroke or death in a person makes their waist-to-height ratio a more accurate measurement in this regard.
- The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) carries out BMI tests in order to screen for healthiness as it is an easy and cheap way of doing so.
- BMI measurements vary between adults and children. BMI charts have to take growth into account when it comes to measuring children.
- Although having a BMI of 25 or above does not necessarily imply that you are obese, it is still a sign that perhaps you should implement some changes in your diet or fitness life.
- On the other hand, a low BMI can also be a sign that something needs to change â€“ being malnourished and underweight is just as unhealthy as being overweight or obese.
- Having a healthy weight can have a number of benefits, such as improved joint and muscle health; higher levels of energy; better bodily fluid regulation and blood pressure levels; reduction of heart fatigue and burden on the circulatory system; and improved sleep patterns
- On the other hand, there are a number of health risks associated with higher levels of BMI. These are mostly associated with the extra amount of work the heart has to do in order to keep you going â€“ increased blood pressure and blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels; likeliness of diabetes and heart disease.
Ultimately, BMI is a very contentious topic in the medical field. I believe that the main takeaway from this information should be that it has its benefits as well as its disadvantages. It should definitely not be completely discarded, as it does tell us at least something about our health; however, it should not be taken as a holistic and complete measure of it. Just like point number 5 states, it is best used in conjunction with other tests in order to get a more accurate and conclusive result. I hope you learned something today!