Body Mass Index, or BMI, is a key index that relates to one’s height and weight. It is a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of his/her height in meters. The National Institute of Health (NIH) has now defined BMI to be the deciding parameter to know if you are underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese. Hence, knowing your BMI is a very important factor in maintaining a healthy body and an optimum fitness level.
- Underweight: Your BMI is less than 18.5
- Healthy weight: Your BMI is 18.5 to 24.9
- Overweight: Your BMI is 25 to 29.9
- Obese: Your BMI is 30 or higher
A healthy BMI can also help you keep diseases like heart problem, type 2 diabetes and hypertension at bay. A normal BMI is an indicator of being at your ideal weight. BMI is basically a quantified measure for the amount of tissue mass, that is muscles, fat and bones, of an individual.
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
Just as a high BMI can cause health problems, so can a very low BMI. A lack of sufficient body fat may lead to:
- bone loss
- decreased immune function
- heart problems
- iron deficiency anemia
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.