It is important to calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI)! Why? It is a measurement of your health and a simple way monitor your health status. High BMIs are associated with greater risk for Diabetes and Heart Disease. Learn about BMI and the importance of keeping it in check from our guest poster Tyler Tholen.
Is It Important To Calculate Your Body Mass Index?
Guest post: by Tyler Tholen
Your BMI (body mass index) is an important measurement of health. It should generally be calculated often, to monitor your health. The better your BMI, the healthier life you are living. Problems such as arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, varicose veins, gallbladder disease and breathing problems are going to be a risk for you if your BMI is above 25. Your BMI is identified by taking your weight and dividing it by your height, using the metric system. Weights that are identified as normal will be between an 18.5 and 24.9 BMI. You are considered underweight if you fall under 18.5, and you are considered overweight if you fall between 25 and 29.9 BMI. A BMI above 30 is considered obese. However, the BMI is not perfect, so here’s what you should know:
Ask your doctor if the BMI is a good test for you. It’s not the best for people with large statures (big-boned people or especially tall individuals) or people who regularly lift weights or are otherwise athletic. It’s for the average person, who doesn’t work out and has an average build. Your doctor can tell you if you’re a good candidate. In 1972, doctors began using the BMI calculation because research and studies had been done which revealed that the BMI number was the closest predictor for the height and weight tables. If you know your BMI now, your doctor can easily assess your health without invasive procedures (such as predicting your likelihood for diseases, which we’ll return to).
One reason it is important to calculate your BMI (if it’s for you) is that your doctor can save money! It’s simple and inexpensive for a doctor to utilize your BMI, versus the other methods for measuring obesity. These tests are quite expensive, and aren’t always just there for a doctor’s use. They also require professionals who are trained to do the testing. Those tests are underwater weighing, skinfold thickness, isotope dilution, X-ray absorptiometry, and bioelectrical impedance – forget these – BMI is simple!
It is so important to get assessed for serious diseases and illnesses. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute discusses on their website how the risk of developing a condition associated with one of these body parts is higher in people who have a BMI between 25 and 29.9. Some of the most common include hypertension, heart disease and diabetes. The risks continue to increase, going up to much higher levels of risk, as the BMI increases.
High BMIs are also able to project the risks associated with bad cholesterol levels as well. Knowing that you are at a higher risk of some cardiovascular diseases is so important to give us time to try to get matters back under control. It is predicted that the risk for breast cancer, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, endometrial cancer, colon cancer and strokes will be much higher too, though research hasn’t solidified these claims yet.
If you think your child may be too inactive or is overweight, it would behoove you to find out their BMI – it’s a quick indicator of overall health, and the school nurse can probably tell you anything you need to know about it.
Tyler Tholen is an aspiring journalist. He hopes to be the next Rick Steves and pen numerous books about traveling through Africa. He is passionate about global health, sustainable tourism & nutrition. He writes about fitness & parenting at dentalinsurance.net.