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The Weight Loss Centre

Body Mass Index

 

Health care providers use body mass index (BMI) as one of several measures to assess a person's risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, or other health problems. Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to both adult men and women.

Body Mass Index measures your weight in relation to your height, and is closely associated with measures of body fat.

Body Mass Index Categories:

  • Underweight = <18.5

  • Normal weight = 18.5-24.9

  • Overweight = 25-29.9

  • Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater

Body mass index is a reliable indicator of total body fat, which is related to the risk of disease and death. The score is valid for both men and women but it does have some limits. Because BMI does not show the difference between fat and muscle, it does not always accurately predict when weight could lead to health problems. For example, someone with a lot of muscle (such as a body builder) may have a BMI in the unhealthy range, but still be healthy and have little risk of developing diabetes or having a heart attack.

Body mass index also may not accurately reflect body fatness in people who are very short (under 5 feet or 152cm) and in older people, who tend to lose muscle mass as they age. And it may not be the best predictor of weight-related health problems in some non-Caucasian ethnic groups. But for most people, BMI is a reliable way to tell if your weight is putting your health at risk.

Besides being overweight or obese, there are additional risk factors to consider.

  • high blood pressure (hypertension)

  • high LDL-cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol)

  • low HDL-cholesterol ("good" cholesterol)

  • high triglycerides

  • high blood glucose (sugar)

  • family history of premature heart disease

  • physical inactivity

  • cigarette smoking

For people who are considered obese (BMI greater than or equal to 30) or those who are overweight (BMI of 25 to 29.9) and have two or more risk factors, even a small weight loss (just 10 percent of your current weight) will help to lower your risk of developing diseases associated with obesity.

Talk to your doctor to see if you are at an increased risk and if you should lose weight. Your doctor will evaluate your BMI, waist measurement, and others risk factors for heart disease. People who are overweight or obese have a greater chance of developing high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol or other lipid disorders, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers.

Remember, even a small weight loss (just 10 percent of your current weight) will help to lower your risk of developing those diseases.

 

Source: National Institute for Health;  Weight Control Information Network; The Better Health Channel, VIC government.

 

 

 
 
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