BMI formula

What is the significance of the BMI formula?

Technology and development have given us some very unhealthy practices such as cheap fast food rich in calories, reduced physical activity, cheaper nonphysical entertainment, higher carbohydrate intake due to an emphasis on low fat intake. Globally, the prevalence of obesity has tripled from 1975 to 2016, especially in middle and low-income nations. Recently, the World Gastroenterology Organization Collaborated with the International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders for the awareness of obesity as a pandemic. Referring to the severity of the disease, it is vital to keep it constant if one falls into the category. The significance of the BMI formula lies in the definition of obesity.

BMI formula

Standard BMI World Health Organization (WHO) has defined its standards for overweight and obesity for adults and children. However, BMI standards for both the sexes in adults are the same.

BMI for Adults

The standards for adults are as follows;

  • If a person has a BMI equal to or greater than 25, he is overweight.
  • If a person has a BMI equal to or greater than 30, he is classified as obese.

BMI for Children

To define if a child is overweight or obese, one must determine the age. The children aging below five years are overweight whose BMI formula values deviate more than two standards above WHO child growth standards median. However, the children with weight to height higher than three standard deviations above the median are obese.

Furthermore, the children aging between 5-19 years are regarded as overweight and obese with 1 & 2 standard deviations above WHO growth reference median, respectively.

What is the BMI formula?

A BMI calculator is an inexpensive tool to estimate body fat. Anyone can check their BMI at home with the BMI calculator to BMI chart to get an idea of their body condition. Body mass index refers to a person’s height to weight ratio. BMI can be calculated by dividing the body weight in kilograms by the height of the person in meters squared.

BMI = weight (kg) / [height (m)]2

In another case, you can calculate the BMI by dividing the weight in pounds with the height in inches square, which further multiplies by 703 (the conversion factor).

BMI = weight (lb) / [height (in)] 2 x 703

The significance of the BMI formula is evident in the fact it is the prime standard to categorize a person’s body weight. Furthermore, BMI serves as a screening tool to estimate one’s weight concerning obesity. However, it cannot be used as the ultimate measurement tool for obesity. For diagnosis, the physicians perform various other tests and assessments. This assessment typically includes:

  • Evaluation of diet
  • Physical activity
  • Family
  • Skinfold thickness

How reliable is the BMI formula for body fat?

Body mass index is in close relation with body fat. However, it is notable that the body fat differs among two people having the same BMI. Moreover, there are also some facts to be considered, such as follows:

  • Women usually have more body fat than men, even having the same BMI
  • With the same BMI, Asians have more body fat than whites, yet black people have lesser body fat than whites.
  • Moreover, athletes tend to have lesser body fat than non-athletes because of their developed muscles.

According to standards, people with a BMI of 25 to 29.9 are overweight. People with a BMI of more than 30 are obese. Conversely, athletes and sportspeople have an increased muscle mass instead of body fat. Hence, if their BMI formula values exceed 30, they won’t be considered overweight or obese at all. Therefore, you need to go for an experienced health care professional to estimate your body fat.

Who should not use the BMI formula to calculate body fat?

Anyone can estimate their body fat with any online BMI calculator to BMI chart concerning the above text. However, not everyone can rely on the results. For example, long-distance athletes, pregnant women, young children, and bodybuilders. Therefore, it makes the perfect sense that the athletes may have a higher BMI value, but they have more muscle mass than fat. Furthermore, during the pregnancy, a woman’s body undergoes some significant changes. Therefore, the BMI formula does not apply to women, especially in their pregnancy.

Consequences of obesity

Obesity is a multifactorial disease, and several risk factors can directly impact various aspects of life. Some of the complications associated with obesity are mentioned below.

  • High blood pressure/ Hypertension due to higher levels of high LDL cholesterol or higher range dyslipidemia.
  • Cardiovascular diseases such as the coronary heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Body pain and restricted physical functioning
  • Mental illnesses like clinical depression, eating disorders, low self-esteem and anxiety
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Cancers such as liver, breast, colon,
  • Sleep apnea or other respiratory system disorders

Hence, if you have been munching too much on unhealthy foods with no proper physical activity, we recommend you to be wary of your body fat extent. You can simply do it yourself with the BMI formula via any online BMI calculator. Hence, you can address your body fat at the right time and go for managing obesity and weight loss.