Does Your BMI Really Matter?
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Does Your BMI Really Matter?

Knowing your Body Mass Index is critical to knowing whether you need to gain weight, lose weight, or maintain your current weight.

The simple answer is that it really does matter. Physical appearances aside, your Body Mass Index is extremely important if you want to live a long, healthy life.

What is BMI?

The body mass index (BMI), or Quetelet index, is a heuristic proxy for human body fat based on an individual's weight and height. BMI does not actually measure the percentage of body fat. It was invented between 1830 and 1850 by the Belgian polymath Adolphe Quetelet during the course of developing "social physics." Body mass index is defined as the individual's body weight divided by the square of his or her height. The formulae universally used in medicine produce a unit of measure of kg/m2. BMI can also be determined using a BMI chart, which displays BMI as a function of weight (horizontal axis) and height (vertical axis) using contour lines for different values of BMI or colors for different BMI categories.

How do you calculate your BMI?

Calculating your BMI is relatively easy involving some easy multiplication and division. There are four straightforward formulas as you can see in this table.

Which of these formulas that you will need to use will depend on what system of measurements that you are using? If you are living in the United States, you probably be measuring your height in feet or inches and your weight or mass in pounds. Probably, none of you or very few of you will be measuring your weight or mass in “Stones” which is what the “st” stands for in the bottom formula. If, by chance, you are using the SI or metric system of measurements, you would need to use the top formula.

How to use your BMI calculations

BMI provides a simple numeric measure of people "fatness" or "thinness," allowing health professionals to discuss over- and under-weight problems more objectively with their patients. You can use the following graph to make those determinations for yourself.

As you can see, your ideal weight would fall within the “yellow” area of the graph. If you fall within the “White” area, you are underweight. If your weight falls within the “orange” area, you are overweight. You are fat if your weight falls within the “red” area on the graph.

If you want to be able to put that into a BMI Index number, so you can speak your doctor’s language, use the following chart.

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Comments (3)
Ranked #2 in Healthy Living

Very informative and educational article Jerry, thank you.

Excellent. I never who knew invented BMI.

I'll try this. I am honestly not aware..