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:
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
high blood pressure
high LDL-cholesterol ("bad"
low HDL-cholesterol ("good"
high blood glucose (sugar)
family history of premature
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
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
Remember, even a small weight
loss (just 10 percent of your current weight) will
help to lower your risk of developing those
Source: National Institute for Health; Weight
Control Information Network; The Better Health
Channel, VIC government.