You hear every day about the danger of being overweight. But what does overweight mean? What does body mass index mean and how can you calculate it? And, the more important thing, how thin is healthy? Because, hey, very thin doesn’t mean healthy!
We’re sure you heard about body mass index. Well, body mass index, known as BMI is a measure of body fat based on your weight in relation to your height. The formula applies to most adult men and women aged 20 and over.
Your BMI indicates whether you’re underweight, overweight, obese or you have a healthy weight for your height.
Which BMI is normal?
The metric BMI formula it’s: Weight (in kilograms) / Height (in meters) 2
You can also calculate your BMI online. There are plenty of websites that can help you do this calculation.
For adults 20 years and older, a BMI below 18.5 is considered underweight, a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered healthy. Overweight people have a BMI ranging from 25 to 29.9, while obese people have a BMI of 30 or higher.
It’s important for you to know that body mass index values do not depend on age and gender. Although it may vary in different populations due to different body proportions.
Why you have to know your body mass index
Why is it important for you to know your body mass index? Because if a person's BMI is out of the healthy range, their health risks may increase significantly. It’s good for you to keep track on your BMI so that you can take measures when need it, like losing or gaining weight.
Although a person with a body mass index over 25 is considered overweight, new studies suggest it may not be quite as bad as experts thought. Health.com wrote about one study that used data from three different periods—1976 to 1978, 1991 to 1994, and 2003 to 2013, examining the link between the BMI and mortality in 120,000 people. Researchers think that people who are a bit heavier are the least likely to die young.
The research showed that the participants in the study (1976 to 1978 period) with the lowest risk of death were those who had a BMI of 23.7, in the middle of the healthy range. In the second sample (1991 – 1994), the mortality rate was lowest for people with a BMI of 24.6 (which is at the upper limit of the healthy range). Looks like things have changed in time. In the most recent group (2003 - 2013) those with a BMI of 27, in the middle of the overweight range, had the lowest risk of dying.
Well, that’s the discovery. But no one knows why things have changed. Danish researcher Børge G. Nordestgaard cautions people not to get the wrong idea from his research. You still cannot eat whatever or whenever you want if you want to be healthy. Also, you don’t have to gain weight to become overweight to live longer.