If you’ve ever wondered whether your weight is healthy, then you may have stumbled upon the term BMI. You may have heard about it from your doctor or colleague, and that it could be an indicator that you need to lose or gain weight. If you want to know what it is all about and how to calculate your own BMI, then read on.
What Is BMI?
BMI stands for Body Mass Index, which is a number that you calculate from your height and weight. This number takes into consideration the ratio of your weight to your height, to roughly calculate the percentage of body fat that you have. A high BMI suggests that you have a higher percentage of fat in your body. Experts have come up with a method of calculating one’s BMI together with a BMI chart that represents one’s body fat content. However, it’s far easier to use an online calculator – see the sidebar to easily calculate yours now.
Men and women generally carry different amounts of body fat and therefore cannot refer to the same chart when calculating their BMI. Women naturally tend to have more subcutaneous fat than men do, so they may have a higher BMI than men. To obtain the best results when calculating your BMI, you should refer to a chart designed for your gender.
Calculating Your BMI
Calculating your BMI is quite a simple process. To calculate it by yourself, you first need to measure your height and weight (both in inches and pounds). You then calculate the square of your height (multiply your height with itself). Now divide your weight by your this number, and multiply that value by 703. The number you have now is your BMI. Alternatively, you can also use meters and kilograms to calculate your BMI. The method is exactly the same but you do not need to multiply the number by 703 in the end.
A BMI of below 18.5 suggests that you are underweight; whereas a value of 25 and above suggests that you are overweight. You should try to adjust your weight so your BMI is always within the normal range which is 18.5 to 24.9. If your BMI is above 30, you are then considered obese. If this is the case, then you may need to work at losing weight.
Remember, however, that the BMI measure is just a starting point. If you’re muscly, you may have a higher than average BMI but actually still be healthy. And, those with a good BMI are not always healthy. To get a better measure of body fat, you can use tools such as calipers. However, as an easy to calculate starting point, your BMI is a good place to begin.