What is the Body Mass Index (BMI)?

Based on height and weight, the body mass index (BMI) is a measurement of body fat. To determine whether a person's weight is within a healthy range for their height, it is a frequently used technique. BMI is computed as the product of a person's height in metres squared and weight in kilogrammes (BMI = kg/m2).

The typical BMI classification is as follows −

  • BMI less than 18.5 − Underweight

  • BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 − Normal weight

  • BMI between 25 and 29.9 − Overweight

  • BMI greater than or equal to 30 − Obese

In particular, athletes or those with a lot of muscular mass, who may have a high BMI but a healthy body fat percentage, should be aware that BMI is not a perfect indicator of body fat and can have limitations. In addition, additional variables including age, gender, and ethnicity can influence how the BMI is interpreted. It's better to use BMI as a broad guideline and speak with a healthcare professional for individualised guidance on weight management.

Importance of BMI

An essential measure for determining a person's overall health and risk for specific illnesses is their body mass index (BMI). Following are several justifications for the significance of BMI −

  • Identifying overweight and obesity − BMI is frequently used to identify individuals who are overweight or obese since these diseases raise the risk of acquiring a number of health issues, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some malignancies. Healthcare practitioners can offer lifestyle changes or other therapies to people who fit into these groups to lower their chance of contracting these disorders by identifying them.

  • Monitoring weight changes − The BMI can be used to monitor weight changes over time, which can help identify changes that might be caused by a change in health conditions or a change in lifestyle.

  • Evaluating overall health risk − BMI can be used to evaluate an individual's total health risk because obesity is frequently linked to other risk factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and insulin resistance.

  • Providing a starting point for discussions − : BMI can serve as a beginning point for discussions between medical experts and their patients regarding weight control, lifestyle changes, and other methods for enhancing health.

BMI can be a useful tool for assessing overall health risk and directing treatments, even if it is not a perfect indicator of health and shouldn't be used in isolation to diagnose or treat illnesses.

How to Maintain a Healthy BMI?

A balanced diet and routine exercise are both necessary to maintain a healthy body mass index (BMI). The following advice will help you keep a healthy BMI −

  • Exercise frequently − Keeping a healthy BMI requires regular physical activity. Set a weekly goal of 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise or 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise. Include strength training activities at least twice a week to assist maintain and grow your muscle mass.

  • Eat a balanced diet − Maintain a healthy BMI by eating a balanced diet that contains lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats. Choose nutrient-dense foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals instead of processed and high-calorie items.

  • Consume in moderation − Overeating, even of nutritious foods, can result in weight gain and an unhealthy BMI. Use smaller dishes, measure serving sizes, and steer clear of large portions to practise portion management.

  • Keep yourself well-hydrated − Drinking lots of water will help you feel full and satisfied, which can help you resist the need to overeat. Aim for eight glasses of water or more each day.

  • Obtain adequate rest − Sleep deprivation can interfere with hormones that control appetite and metabolism, resulting in weight gain and an unhealthy BMI. Try to get between seven and nine hours each night.

Keep in mind that maintaining a healthy BMI is a long-term effort that calls for commitment and lifestyle modifications. For specific guidance on preserving a healthy BMI, speak with a medical expert.

Updated on: 14-Apr-2023


Kickstart Your Career

Get certified by completing the course

Get Started