How can I reduce my BMI?

July 21 2016

Your BMI, which stands for Body Mass Index, is a measure of a body fat in relation to your height and weight. Body Mass Index isn't a totally accurate indicator of your overall health but it can be used to estimate whether you're underweight or overweight.

Doctors and health professionals can calculate Body Mass Index but a BMI calculator can also be used. All you need to know is your height in centimetres and your weight kilos and you can either use a chart, like the one below, or the NHS also has an interactive BMI calculator that will give you a good idea of your score.

For adults over the age of 20, a healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 24.5. Anything below is too low and could mean a person is underweight, and anything over is too high and could mean a person is overweight or obese (30 to 39.9). Some extra factors do need to be considered when calculating a person's Body Mass Index, however – some sportsmen and sportswomen, for example, have a BMI that suggests they are overweight due to muscle weighing more than fat.

A high BMI means a person's chances of getting heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, having high blood pressure, having a stroke or getting certain cancers is increased, so keeping your BMI score healthy is very important. If you're wondering what the easiest ways to keep your BMI around the ideal level (18.5-24.5), see our top tips below. And don't worry, it's not rocket science...

Reduce your daily calorie intake

The basic rule of lowering your BMI, and to maintain a healthy weight generally, is to consume the same or slightly less calories than you burn. Use a calories calculator to work out roughly how many calories a day you use (you will need to enter details of your exercise routine and your working environment) and then stick to eating only that amount, or a little less if you want to lose weight overall.

Cut down on salt

Reduce your sodium intake by cutting out processed foods (crisps, ready meals etc.), which will also help you cut down your intake of fatty foods, and steer clear of the salt shaker. To season your food use herbs and spices instead.

Get your heart pumping

Burn up your body's excess fat by taking part in regular cardio workouts. Cardiovascular exercises are perfect for melting fat as they use fat as the main source of fuel, which carbs and protein used to a lesser extent. Running, fast-paced cycling and walking, and rowing are all great examples of cardio exercises that will help the fat fall off.

Want to know even more about Body Mass Index?