Monday, July 15, 2013

Your questions answered: What is BMI?


If you've been to a health screening lately or had an annual physical with your doctor, you may have heard the term "BMI". What is it exactly, and what should yours be?

BMI stand for Body Mass Index and is one tool to assess your health. It is a measure of how much body weight you have relative to your height. Healthy range for adults is 18.5 to 24.9 kg/m2.  It is simple to do and is great for looking at large groups of people, like scientists do for research projects. It isn't perfect though.


One problem is that BMI doesn't look at type of tissue - there is no distinction between fat or muscle. For this reason, your average athlete with a high amount of muscle tissue may register falsely as "overweight" according to their BMI. Similarly, a pregnant woman will also likely be "overweight". However, BMI is pretty accurate for most.

What about kids? You can also assess their weight for their height using BMI, but the guidelines are dependent on their age and gender. The CDC has a BMI calculator for kids.

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