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Body Mass Index

The Advanced English dictionary defines Body Mass Index (BMI) as the measure of someone’s weight with relation to one’s height. In calculating one’s Body Mass Index, his or her weight in pounds is divided by his or her height in inches squared. The Body Mass Index is a scale for the determination of one’s body weight into four categories; underweight with Body Mass Index scores of less than 18.5, normal weight with BMI scores of between 18.5 and 24.9, overweight with BMI scores between 25 and 29.9 and obese with BMI scores of 30 and above.

The Body Mass Index is an indicator rather than a standard of measurement of one’s body fat. While the index tends to correlate one’s total body fat, there are few exceptions to the formula. Very muscular people tend to fall in the overweight category whilst they are very healthy and fit. A body builder’s body who has an overall low body fat percentage can have the same Body Mass Index as an overweight individual. An elderly individual, on the other hand, can fall in the normal weight category, when he or she has a high percentage of body fat and little muscle mass.

An individual’s Body Mass Index may be calculated to determine whether one is at risk of certain diseases. Health professionals can determine health risks for overweight and obese individuals by using the Body Mass Index. The information presented by the Body Mass Index can be used to determine one’s health risks. A high Body Mass Index is a risk factor for disease and in serious cases even death. Individuals with Body Mass Index scores that bespeak that they are overweight, or obese have a risk of developing ailments such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, lipid disorders, heart disease, stroke, and even certain cancers. These individuals are at an increased risk of premature death, gallbladder disease, cardiovascular disease, sleep apnea, and osteoarthritis.

While the Body Mass Index cannot be regarded as the gold standard for the assessment of one’s total body fat, the index tends to paint a picture of one’s health risk potential. People with higher Body Mass Index scores tend to be at an increased risk of certain ailments while people with scores in the “normal” weight category are at a lower risk. While the formula is not perfect as it tends to categorize fit and healthy muscular persons as overweight, and elderly people with little muscle mass as having normal weight, the index is helpful to determine one’s health risks.