The acronym probably rings a bell for most people. As a matter of fact the term has widely been used over and over again given the increasing rate of deteriorating global health. The truth is that health problems have been an ever increasing cause of deaths among the current generation and this is mainly attributed to the lifestyles and diet changes characteristic of this century’s dwellers.
By and large, one would wonder why BMI is so important. The term refers to one’s BodyMassIndex and has for long been used by medical practitioners, health professionals among others as an indicator of one’s health condition. Not to mention anyone who is concerned about their weight. In real sense, BMI is calculated by determining the ratio of height versus weight. The ratio is calculated by dividing the body bass by the square of one’s height. However, most people often assume the ratio to be a calculation of one’s fat which in reality is not the actual case.
Thanks to advanced technology, BMI for men (and women too) can easily be calculated without the need for visiting a medical practitioner. It’s more like a do it yourself task as there are a variety of online BMI calculators where all you are to do is to key in relevant figures such as mass and height and by the click of a button you have your BMI. Some weight scales are embedded with BMI calculators whereby immediately you measure your weight, all you have to key is your corresponding height and that’s it.
The ratio was developed in the mid nineteenth century and was previously referred to as the Quetelet Index before being changed to BMI in 1972. The prevalence of obesity in the newer societies led to the popularity of the term and to date it is among one of the most important ratios in matters concerning weight loss and weigh gain. The latter being a major issue associated with modern eating habits.
The widespread use of the ratio has resulted in adoptions as well as calculations leading to development of charts based on the ratio. Ideally, the calculation of BMI is based on a chart that has categories ranging from obese to underweight by virtue of the BMI figure. In this respect, there are also different standardized ratios for BMI based on whether you are male or female.
For instance, the best BMI for men would be in the range of 18.5-25. This is the global estimate of what the BMI of a normal man should be. Figures above or below the figure imply that one is either overweight or underweight respectively. However, amounts above or below the standard may be further divided depending on the level of extremity such as extremely obese or extremely underweight on either extremes.
There are various advantages that accrue to someone who knows their BMI. The most common advantage is that it is particularly useful in determining whether or not you are in a safe weight bracket. If you have a high weight, there are potential increased risks for diabetes, coronary heart disease, hypertension, stroke, respiratory problems among others. In simple terms, a high BMI could serve as a red light after which you can take measures to reduce weight. On the other hand, if you are underweight then it would be wise to add some more weight.
Considering that there is no sophisticated software needed to calculate BMI it is essentially an ideal way to check your condition even from the comfort of your home or wherever you deem appropriate. The method used is quite simple as there is no need for specialized equipment and you can make all interpretations based on the BMI chart estimates. The process is pretty much straight forward.
The recommendation by most health bodies is to use BMI together with other means of establishing if one has weight problems. They recommend visiting a trained health consultant so as to carry out more tests such as the use of waist measurements, diet analysis, underwater weighing among other means to assess body weight. Other measures such as a keen study of the family history as well as skinfold measurement should also be taken into consideration.
Over the years, the use of BMI has been subject to criticism from skeptics including doctors and health specialists. The argument stems from the fact that in some cases or instances, BMI may not be an accurate figure to accurately assess weight problems. Such instances arise when BMI may either overestimate or underestimate ones weight issues particularly in older adults and athletes. This has also been the case with women. One reason why the figure may generally be somewhat inaccurate in women is based on the fact that they do tend to have a higher percentage of body fat compared to men.
On the other hand, in older people, BMI has been proven to have some faults. This is because it may occur that one has lost body tissue and gained fat therefore the figures will indicate one as being healthy when there could be nothing further form the truth. In the case of athletes, the BMI could indicate one as being overweight yet the truth is that most of them work out a lot therefore they have a great body mass as opposed to having more fat.
The bottom line is that BMI is indeed a useful tool that can be used by anyone. The use of the ratio is gaining popularity as there is relative increased awareness on the benefits of maintaining a healthy diet. People who use the ratio are working to get rid of a sedentary lifestyle since it is a cause of many health issues. A great number of scientists argue that the benefits derived from using BMI far outnumber the limitations associated with it. This has been the main reason why despite all the negative claims linked with using the ratio, it still remains a common, even extremely essential ratio used by an ever increasing number of people.