Understanding Body Mass Index and Its Importance

Have you ever heard of a BMI calculator? The major work of this measurement is to ensure that it can calculate the body mass and give you a good understanding of what your health condition is at the moment. It will give you a calculation of the body fat and this is completely based on an individual’s height and weight. 

BMI is a valuable tool and it can help you to understand if you are healthy or if there are other considerations that you need to make. It is used by a lot of dieticians as well as fitness enthusiasts. However, a healthy BMI is extremely important for all individuals to stay fit and active. 

Body Mass Index – Defining The Concept

What does one mean by body mass index? In simple words, it refers to the estimated fat content of an individual’s body based on their weight and height. It is extremely simple to calculate and gives you a good idea of categorising the different weight categories.

If the calculation comes to high body fat content, then there could be a lot of plausible risks associated with the same. There are specific formulas which work as measuring instruments and will help you to calculate the BMI and make inferences based on the same. 

How Is BMI Calculated?

If you want to get an accurate body mass index, it can be done very easily. The formula used is weight(kg) divided by the height (m)². For example, if the weight of an individual is 70 kg and the height is 1.75 metres then the BMI will be 22.9. After you get the BMI value, there are different categories based on which you will be able to draw a reference and understand the health condition of an individual. The categories are:

  • Underweight: BMI less than 18.5
  • Normal weight: BMI between 18.5 and 24.9
  • Overweight: BMI between 25 and 29.9
  • Obesity (Class I): BMI between 30 and 34.9
  • Obesity (Class II): BMI between 35 and 39.9
  • Obesity (Class III): BMI 40 or greater (also known as morbid obesity)

Why Is BMI Maintenance Critical for Health?

Now it might be posed that why do you need BMI calculators at all? After all, what is the importance of BMI and how can it help you in mainstream healthcare? There are tons of ways that BMI can be used and are important at the moment;

1. Risk Assessment

BMI as we have mentioned can be easily calculated and there are tons of calculators available online at the moment. These serve as measuring instruments and can give you a quick understanding of what the body’s condition is at the moment. Not only that, it will help you to understand how much excess fat you possess at the moment. The conditions that can arise due to this high-fat content are diabetes, heart disease and even hypertension. There are some cases when risk assessment can also help you curb diseases like sleep apnea and stroke. 

2. Treatment Plan

For those who want to start their life towards healthy well-being, BMI can serve as a starting point for a potent treatment plan.  It will help one to develop a personalised treatment based on what the fat content is and which end you fall on either side of the spectrum.

It will also help you to assess what is your current requirement for intervention and which are the lifestyle or dietary modifications that you need to make. Without BMI, it would not be possible to get that starting point and then formulate a plan for the individual. 

3. Research Needs

A lot of people do not understand this but you need to have a good idea of the current population health as well and BMI will allow you to know that. You will be able to understand the current BMI rate of the masses and then infer what the statistics look like. It will help one to have data about research and serve as an important means of public health surveillance. BMI is usually quite accurate and it will help you to understand if the population is showing patterns of obesity or if they are fit at the moment. 

Major Limitations of BMI

Body Mass Index is one of the very commonly used forms of fat percentage calculator. But this does not mean that it is free from any kind of limitations. Some of the major limitations of BMI are:

i) Does Not Take Body Composition Into Account

The first and most poignant limitation that BMI has is that it does not take your body composition into account. This means that individuals who have a higher muscle mass will have higher BMI and vice versa. Similarly, individuals who are old tend to have lower BMI irrespective of the fact that they might have a high content of body fat. 

ii) Ignores Waist Circumference

BMI is extremely uniform in nature. It does not consider how the fat is distributed over the body and whether it is deposited as visceral fat or fat in the thigh or posterior area. Two individuals with the same BMI may have completely different fat distribution and that impacts their health in a negative way. 

iii) Does Not Take Age of Gender into Account

When it comes to something as critical as body mass, it is important that we take the age and gender of the individual into account as well. However, none of the BMI calculators make use of that at the moment. Not only that, it will not take into account whether you are a male or female. This will often lead to inaccurate assessment. 

Irrespective of the limitations it possesses, BMI is a fairly important measure for body mass index calculation. It will help you to analyse the current health limitations and can give you a basic idea of where you are standing health-wise. Having a balanced diet, exercising and regular medical checkups can help you to maintain a steady BMI.