The BMI estimates the weight and height of the person to approximate whether we are overweight, normal or underweight. A BMI level above or below the normal range can lead to heart disease, diabetes, immune deficiencies, and bone density loss. A healthy person has a normal BMI which comes from a balanced diet. A healthy BMI range is between 18.0 and 25.0.
Body mass index (BMI) is an estimate of body fat based on height and weight. It doesn’t measure body fat directly, but instead uses an equation to make an approximation. BMI can help determine whether a person is at an unhealthy or healthy weight.
A high BMI can be a sign of too much fat on the body, while a low BMI can be a sign of too little fat on the body. The higher a person’s BMI, the greater their chances of developing certain serious conditions, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. A very low BMI can also cause health problems, including bone loss, decreased immune function, and anomia. While BMI can be useful in screening children and adults for body weight problems, it does have its limits. BMI may overestimate the amount of body fat in athletes and other people with very muscular bodies. It may also underestimate the amount of body fat in older adults and other people who have lost muscle mass.
Too much fat is a serious health risk. Problems such as hypertension, elevated blood lipids (fats and cholesterol), diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, respiratory dysfunction, gallbladder disease, and a myriad of other health problems are all related to obesity. The ongoing epidemic of obesity in children and adults has highlighted the importance of knowing a person’s body fat for short-term and long-term health. An important part of understanding a user’s health is differentiating between what is healthy and what is not, especially when it comes to fat. It’s common to assume that having as little fat as possible is healthy.
How to Identify?
People gain weight as a result of an energy imbalance. The body needs a certain amount of energy from food in order to function. This energy is obtained in the form of calories. Your weight will usually stay generally the same when you consume the same number of calories as your body uses or “burns” each day. If you take in more calories than you burn, you will gain weight over time.
Energy imbalance is certainly one of the biggest contributors to weight gain. However, your ideal weight is primarily determined by genetics, as well as by the types of foods you eat and how much you exercise. If you have a high BMI, it’s important to lower it so you’re at a healthy weight status. A high BMI is related to a greater risk of developing serious health conditions, such as:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Liver disease
- Certain cancers, including breast, colon and kidney cancers
What to Do?
You can lower body fat and get to a healthier weight by exercising at least three times per week. You should also follow certain diet habits, such as eating only when you’re hungry, eating mindfully, and choosing a diet that’s rich in whole, unprocessed foods. You may also benefit from nutritional counselling. A dietitian can teach you which foods to eat and how much food you should eat in order to lose weight
If you have a low BMI, discuss your weight with your doctor. If needed, increasing the amount of food you eat each day or reducing the amount of exercise can help you gain weight. A dietitian can also help you learn how to gain weight in a healthy way.