Body Mass Index, also known as BMI, is a measure of a person's body fat in relation to their height and weight. It can be used to estimate whether or not a person is underweight or overweight. That said, BMI is not a hard and fast indicator of someone's overall health as other factors contribute to this.
How do I calculate my BMI?
Doctors and health professionals can very accurately calculate your body mass index, but for a quick estimate of your BMI, you can use a chart like the one below. All you need to know is your height in centimetres and your weight kilos. The NHS also has an interactive BMI calculator that will give you a good idea of your score.
What's a healthy BMI?
For adults over the age of 20 (anyone under that age is considered to still be developing), a healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 24.5. Anything under that is considered too low and anything over that is considered overweight (25 to 29.9) or obese (30 to 39.9). When calculating a BMI however, some extra factors do need to be considered. For example, some athletes and sports players with lots of muscles often have a BMI which suggests they are overweight or obese, but this is due muscle weighing more than fat.
How can an unhealthy BMI affect me?
Having a high body mass index means your chances of heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, having a stroke, having high blood pressure and getting certain cancers is increased. A low body mass index may mean that you're more susceptible to getting brittle bones, acquiring an iron deficiency or, for women, having absent periods.
How can I reach a healthy BMI?
If your BMI is over the ideal number then a mixture of reducing your daily calorie intake and partaking in more cardio-based exercise (to burn up fat) is recommended. For those with a body mass index lower than what is healthy, increasing your intake of good calories (nuts, oily fish, avocados, olives) and taking part in muscle-building exercises such as weight lifting or cycling will help.
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