What is Body Mass Index
You may have heard your physician or your health care provider speaking about your Body Mass Index (BMI).
Firstly, body mass index bmi is based on your weight and height. The Body Mass Index measurement is a guide that indicates whether a person is underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese.
If the BMI measurement is high the national institutes of health (NIH) identifies this as one of the risk factors for obesity-related diseases. Health risks associated with a high BMI include cardiovascular disease; high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels, type diabetes and other health problems.
BMI chart for Men
In less modern times everybody’s Body Mass Index was calculated using the simple body mass index bmi formula of: your body weight in kilograms divided by your height in square metres. However, you don’t have to worry about mathematics at all, and after some fine tuning the bmi calculators work out your BMI according to your gender too.
To calculate your BMI use Dr. Hall’s very own BMI calculator.
|A BMI chart for men showing the Body Mass Index of Adult men at various ages. It is not something you see every day. So what does it mean? Furthermore what is interesting?|
Explanation of the BMI chart for Men
Notice the 50<small”>th percentile Red line, which indicates the “median” (or average) BMI value.
You will see from the BMI chart for men, that over 50 percent of American men have a BMI of over 25.
Also notice that Men’s body mass index gradually increases with age, until after the age of 50 to 60, when a gradual decline occurs.
Each percentile line has a curved shape, even for skinny people at the 25th and 10th percentiles.
I believe that this shows it is natural for some weight gain to occur during adult life.
In addition, the chart shows how older children’s (boys) BMI continues to increase up to the age of 20 (and continues increasing after that).
BMI chart for Women
For comparison purposes, this page (below) also shows a BMI chart for women.
Do you notice a few differences between men and women? Indeed, under the 50th percentile, men have a higher BMI than women, likely because men tend to have more skeletal muscle mass.
However, after the age of 30 for the 50th percentiles or higher, women have a higher BMI level at each percentile line.
Table form of BMI chart for men
The table below shows the actual numbers for median Body Mass Index of American men.
|The “National Average” Median Body Mass Index values for Men:|
|Age:||20-29 yrs||30-39 yrs||40-49 yrs||50-59 yrs||60-69 yrs|
January 29, 2015 update. If you are over age 50, which is still considered fairly young in medical terms, you ought to look at the page below. This post reviews the scientific proof that having a BMI of 25 to 30 is most healthy, and should NOT be called overweight.
Questions and Answers
How is BMI used?
BMI is a screening tool that identifies possible weight problems for adults. However, body mass index is not a diagnostic tool. To determine if excess weight is a health risk, a healthcare provider would need to perform further assessments. These assements may include skinfold thickness measurements, evaluations of diet, physical activity, family history and other appropriate health screenings.
Why use BMI to measure overweight and obesity?
The Body Mass Index (BMI) calculation is one of the best methods for population assessment of overweight and obese statistics. Because the calculation requires only height and weight, it is not costly and it is simple to use for clinicians and for the general public. The use of BMI allows individuals to compare their own weight status to that of the general population.
What are some other ways to measure obesity?
Other ways to measure obesity are skinfold thickness measurements, calipers, underwater weighing, bioelectrical impedance, dual-energy x ray absorptiometry (DXA), and isotope dilution. However these methods are not always readily available, they are either expensive or need highly trained personnel.
How reliable is BMI as an indicator of body fatness?
The correlation between the BMI number and body fatness is fairly strong. However it varies by gender, race, and age. These variations include: At the same BMI, women tend to have more body fat than men. At the same BMI, older people, on average, tend to have more body fat than younger adults. And highly trained athletes tend to have a higher BMI because of increased muscularity rather than increased body fatness.
Therefore body fat percentage also plays a role and BMI measurements do not take into account the fat percentage.
What is considered a healthy BMI?
Between 20 and 25.
What does the BMI measurement actually mean?
- BMI under 18.5: This is considered very underweight and possibly malnourished
- 18.5 to 24.9: You have a healthy weight range for young and middle-aged adults
- 25.0 to 29.9: This BMI range is considered overweight.
- A BMI over 30 is classified as obese
Are there any exceptions to the rule?
As mentioned before, BMI does not differentiate between body fat and muscle mass. For this reason there are some exceptions to the BMI guidelines. Body Mass Index measurements (BMI) does not take into account body composition.
Therefore, a ‘healthy’ BMI range but with a large waist measurement, in both man and woman, can also be an indicator for all sorts of health issues. This is why it is important to reduce your waist circumference if it is a problem.
What are the health consequences of overweight and obesity for adults?
- Type 2 diabetes
- Coronary heart disease
- Gallbladder disease
- Sleep apnea
- Respiratory problems
- Some cancers including endometrial, breast cancer and colon.
Is BMI interpreted the same way for children and teens as it is for adults?
Yes. However, the criteria used to interpret the meaning of the BMI number for children and teens are different from those used for adults. For children and teens, BMI age, and gender-specific percentiles are used for two basic reasons:
- The amount of body fat changes with age
- The amount of body fat differs between boys and girls
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