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Condition - What's your Body Mass Index?

By Nutri People

The body mass index, or BMI, is a measure that compares height and body weight. It can be a useful measure for checking to see if you are at your optimal body weight. Keeping optimal body weight is key to a long and healthy life. 

Once you have compared your weight to your height the BMI will be expressed as a number. 

  • Under 18.5    Underweight
  • 18.5-25         Healthy weight
  • 25-30            Overweight
  • 30-40            Obese
  • Over 40        Morbidly obese

If you have a high BMI you have a higher risk of developing conditions associated with being overweight. These risks may include being more predisposed to arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, gall bladder and respiratory problems. In addition certain cancers have been linked with being overweight. Having a low BMI and being underweight is also an issue and may lead to a loss of periods, low fertility and osteoporosis.

Using a BMI chart or calculator can be useful to help you to keep track of whether you have a healthy body weight. Although the BMI can give a general idea of whether you are at a healthy weight for your height it is not an indication of body fat percentage and will also not distinguish between fat and muscle mass. People who participate in sports may have a high level of muscle and may have a high BMI without the risks associated with it. The BMI may also be of limited use for pregnant women who will be carrying fluid and a growing baby! 

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