Body Mass Index (BMI) is calculated based on the weight and height of a person. For the longest time BMI was used to evaluate how healthy an individual is. Based on this index doctors would suggest people to either gain weight, maintain their current weight or make an effort to loose weight in order to be healthy.
BMI equals weight (in kg) divided by height (in meters) squared. When using pounds and inches it has to be multiplied by 703-conversion rate. Though there is no need to go through all this calculation trouble. You can simply use this online BMI calculator (coming soon).
The commonly accepted in clinical practice BMI ranges are the following:
- Under 18.5 percent is considered underweight.
- 18 to 25 percent is normal.
- 25 to 30 percent is overweight.
- Anything over 30 percent is linked to obesity.
Before you put yourself in any of those categories and freak out about your health, there is something else you need to know. Even though BMI has been used for decades and often helps recognize overweight and obesity, it is not the only and certainly not the most accurate metric of healthy body weight and health in general.
BMI is relatively easy and inexpensive to calculate, and that is probably why it is the most common metric to identify overweight and obesity in clinical practice. However, more and more studies show limitations of BMI as a measure of health.
There are studies that prove 30% of people with “normal” BMI rates to be actually obese and unhealthy. Weight was discovered to not always be an accurate metric of physical shape and health. The term “skinny fat” refers to individuals with perfectly normal weight or even underweight according to BMI, who have dangerously high percentage of body fat. It may sometimes not even show from the outside because the fat surrounds internal organs of an individual.
More and more fitness professionals and even doctors start using Body Fat Percentage Index to determine and measure health among their clients and patients. It is very easy to calculate simply dividing total mass of body fat by weight.
It varies greatly among men and women. Women must have at least 10-13 percent of fat for their bodies to function properly, while men only need 2-5 percent to be healthy. Athletic and physically active females have body fat anywhere between 14-24 percent, men in the same category have 6 to 17 percent of fat. Anywhere between 25 to 31 percent of fat in females and 18 to 24 percent in males is considered “average”. Finally, women with more than 32 percent of fat and men with more than 25 percent of fat are diagnosed with obesity.
“It certainly is easy to calculate, but how do I know how much fat I have in my body?” – You wonder. That’s a tricky part. Only a special scale can accurately determine how much fat you carry. This body fat calculator (coming soon), however, will help you get close to measuring your body fat and determining how healthy you really are.
Both BMI and Body Fat Calculators should be used as tools to evaluate health. However, we should not forget to listen to our bodies and pay attention to how we feel on a daily basis. Feeling tired and low on energy, being bloated or even hungry all the time, craving sugar or unhealthy foods, could be indicating that it’s time to start doing something differently and incorporate healthier habits. It is all about the quality of life after all. And it seems like people finally start realizing that there is hardly anything more important than being and feeling healthy.