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What Is Body Mass Index (BMI) And How Is It Calculated?

Body Mass Index (BMI) is the calculation of a body's height and weight in a numerical that tells if a person's weight is appropriate or not. BMI uses equations to measure a body's fat that determines if a person has a healthy or unhealthy weight. High BMI indicates too much fat on a body, whereas a low BMI signifies little body fat on a body. People with higher BMI have more chances of developing some serious disorders such as heart problems, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Whereas, very low BMI leads to health issues like reduced immunity, bone loss, anemia, etc. 

Though BMI is beneficial in displaying the weight problems in kids and adults, it does have some limitations. It sometimes may overestimate the weight and body fat in individuals with muscular bodies. At times, it also underestimates and miscalculates the body fat in older adults or people with less muscle mass. Even if you have health insurance, it is really important to keep your BMI in check for your well-being in the longer run.

Physicians use Body Mass Index to track the weight status to address health risks and issues in individuals. ​

How is BMI calculated? 

BMI is calculated by dividing a body's weight in Kgs by the square of its height in meters, (m2). The metric unit calculation for the same is, BMI = kg/m2

Whereas, in the terms of imperial units, BMI is achieved by multiplying a body's weight in pounds (lbs) by 703, and dividing its squared height in inches (in2). The formula is, BMI = lbs x 703/in2

BMI for Adults 

Certain standard weight status categories interpret the BMI for Adults who are 20 and above, be it male or female. Refer to the chart below: 

BMI 

 Weight Status 

Below 18.5

 Underweight

18.5-24.9

 Normal

25.0-29.9

 Overweight

30.0 and above

Obese


BMI for Children 

BMI examination can be different for individuals under 20 years, as the for children may differ as per their age and gender, even though the formula remains the same. Body fat changes with age and is interpreted differently in young boys and girls. The percentile illustration shows the weight status of children and adolescents.​


Percentile 

 Weight Status 

Below 5th 

 Underweight

5th to 85th

Healthy weight

85th to 95th

 Overweight

95th and above

Obese


While BMI helps to conclude whether an individual is healthy or not, keeping a check on weight status and the food that is being consumed can keep you in good health. Unhealthy weight is gained due to reckless and unhealthy eating habits, which leads to energy imbalance. The body receives energy in the form of calories, which is further obtained from the type and amount of food intake. If someone is taking a moderate number of calories regularly, the chances are he or she will not gain excess weight over time and stay the same. 

Underweight and obesity can cause many serious health issues in adults as well as children, and hence it is important to re- think your health goals and also get a health insurance plan to avoid a financial loss. Your health insurance premium depends on how healthy or unhealthy you are. BMI is one of the deciding factors. Hence, you should always maintain a healthy weight and avoid getting a lifestyle diseases.​