Body Mass Index also known as the dreaded ‘BMI’
Come on, really, it’s fair and easy!
• BMI is a two digit number: weight in relation to your height. It is not body fat percentage- that is something different (see below).
• BMIs are good indicators of healthy or unhealthy weights for adult men and women over the age of 18, regardless of body frame size.
• Approximately 6 pounds is equal to one BMI number. Normal weight ranges for each height are 30 lbs. For example someone 5’5’ can be well within their Normal Weight anywhere between 114lbs and 144lbs. There is plenty of room for healthy weights on different physical fame sizes! See chart link below.
By losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight, you are also likely to enjoy these quality-of-life factors:
Fewer joint & muscle pains
Greater ability to join in desired activities
Better regulation of bodily fluids, blood pressure & hormones
Less burden on your heart & circulatory system from carrying the weight all the time
Better sleep patterns, less sleep medications
Healthier metabolism for sugars & carbohydrates
Reduced risk for heart disease and certain cancers
I think of BMI the same way I think of other health risks, like a traffic light. Green means go-Yellow means slow down- Red means stop what you’re doing.
Normal Range (BMI between 19-25) or Minimal Risk is the green light. It means that your weight is not a current health risk for lifestyle diseases. There is a 30 lb. range for a normal weight at any height. That’s good because we are not are created exactly alike.
Overweight (BMI 25–29.9) or Moderate Risk is the yellow light. Proceed with caution, you are not a high risk for weight issues but it could become a risk if you are not aware of it as a risk. Many exercise physiologists love to battle on this ground. I simply say to them, BMI is one way of examining weight as it relates to lifestyle health risk. You can do the “pinch test” or a ‘waist to hip’ measurement ratio, but oftentimes BMI is accurate unless you are a body builder with an enormous shoulder girth!
Obese (BMI 30 & above) or High Risk is the red light. It means stop now. You are currently at high risk for developing health related issues due to your weight and lifestyle. Continuing to carry this weight is dangerous.
BMI Chart (convert your height to inches before you begin). Example 5′ is 60inches.
Please note: BMI’s under 19 are considered Under Weight and need to be discussed with your physician, the same as, those falling into the Obese Range.
This chart is a way to gage your weight control. Please understand that I think we are far to touchy about the subject of weight. It is definitely a health risk if you are carrying too much of it around. Take a deep breath and know that you can get your body to work better for you, but you have to be committed to the cause!
Body Composition and Body Fat %
Body composition refers to the proportion of fat and fat-free mass in the body. Those with a higher proportion of fat-free mass to a lower proportion of body fat have a healthy body composition.
Body composition is the body’s relative amount of fat to fat-free mass. Those with optimal body composition are typically healthier, move more easily and efficiently, and in general, feel better than those with less-than-ideal body composition. Achieving a more optimal body composition goes a long way toward improving your quality of life and overall wellness. Having too little fat can lead to hormone imbalances, excessive bone loss and fractures, loss of muscles mass and more. Having too much fat can cause health problems such as certain cancers, diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.
To maintain your desired body weight or to lose weight, eat a low fat diet with a variety of healthy foods and exercise regularly. In order to increase your muscle mass you will need to add strength training or resistance training to your cardiovascular routine. Yes, muscle weighs slightly more than free fat mass so you may gain a few pounds at first; however, muscle mass burns calories longer and harder after a workout so you will actually rev up your metabolism and lose weight if you given the routine a few weeks and stick to a healthy diet.
Body Composition Charts are linked below. Notice there is a Men’s Chart and a Woman’s Chart; the charts are based on current age, as well as, % of fat. Body fat calibration requires special calculations and can be done by a personal trainer or a health screening professional. Every healthy body needs a dose of fat to protect it and as we age more fat % is allowed on the body per the chart(s). Women generally have more fat then men.
Gaining and maintaining lean muscle mass takes commitment too; however, you should know that muscle metabolizes (burns fat) longer then free fat mass after a workout and all day long. That means, it is a good idea to add strength & resistance training to your cardio routine.
For information on losing weight, click here.