Body Mass Index Information

From the Hilbert College Wellness Center
by Kirsten Falcone, RN

Body Mass Index (BMI)

What is a BMI? BMI is short for Body Mass Index, which is a number the medical world uses to determine if you are a healthy weight for your frame. The calculation is often done with the metric scale in kilograms divided by meters squared. But it can also be calculated by dividing pounds by inches squared, then multiplying by 703. A healthy BMI for someone 20 or older is between 18.5 and 24.9. Under that range is considered underweight, a range of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight, and over 30 is rated as obese. If you are under 20 years of age, you are probably not done growing, so there is another scale used. (See below.)

Why is it important to have a healthy BMI? Most people who fall within the normal range don’t need to be as concerned as someone who does not. (However, this does not let them off the hook for living a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise and proper nutrition.) For someone who is above the normal range, losing weight by cutting calories and exercising is strongly recommended to reduce the risk of related diseases and health conditions. Conversely, those under 18.5 are encouraged to gain weight. It’s not insignificant that there is also a correlation between someone’s BMI and how often he or she succumbs to illness and health issues.

How can I attain a healthy BMI? A healthy BMI can be obtained either by gaining weight, or, more commonly, by losing weight. The best way to lose weight is a combination of calorie cutting and aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking three or more times per week.

Where can I go to attain my BMI? Calculate your BMI yourself using the above equation, go online to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), or come in to the Hilbert Wellness Center for a personal calculation.

If you would like to calculate online, here are the links.

For 20 and over:
http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/adult_bmi/english_bmi_calculator/bmi_calculator.html

For under 20:
http://apps.nccd.cdc.gov/dnpabmi/

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