Officially known as the Quetelet Index, the Body Mass Index is a widely used clinical assessment to determine the appropriateness of the person’s scale weight. However, this is another theory and just a guideline. Many factors contribute to the overall evaluation of whether a person is actually overweight or obese. Much of that has been written in other articles on this site.
The formula used to determine the BMI is calculated by dividing the weight in pounds by height in inches squared and multiplying by 703. BMI is a quick and easy method for providing a guide in determining if one’s weight is appropriate for one’s height. Basically, according to this index, a BMI from 18.5 to 24.9 is considered healthy. BMI from 25 to 29.9, overweight. Obesity class 1 is a BMI of 30 to 34.9, obesity class II is of 40 and above. A BMI below 18.5 is considered underweight and unhealthy. Generally speaking, the higher your BMI, the greater your risk of developing other obesity-related problems. But this doesn’t tell the full story. The BMI does not provide a differentiation of fat and nonfat weight. For most adults, however, there is a clear correlation between elevating BMI and negative health consequences. Yet, these numbers don’t indicate what person is eating or how they exercise to determine factors involved in various health problems. Yet when the BMI climbs above 27, in some cases, shows the risk of developing cardiovascular disease increases dramatically. It is suggested that adults maintain a BMI below 25. The USDA healthy weight guidelines reflect a BMI ranging from 19 to 25. When the BMI is between 25 and 27 one can be considered somewhat overweight with a slightly elevated risk of developing obesity-related conditions. When the BMI rises above 27, the risk for suffering negative health outcomes due to excess weight is significantly higher than a normal weight for any one individual .
On the other hand, being too thin and having a BMI that is below the healthy range (18.4 to 24.9) can also be a health concern.
Many health care experts think the BMI is a useful tool to measure weight and health risks, but others question its accuracy. Some believe a better way might be to take out the tape measure and check your waist and hip circumference.
While this is just another estimation, more factors need to be taken into account as to whether the person is really obese. The overall body fat percentage, diet history, exercise patterns, and family history are very important. Muscle mass isn’t taken into consideration when the BMI is determined.
As an example, basketball player Michael Jordan, when he was in his prime his BMI was 27 -29 classifying him as overweight, yet his waist size was less than 30. This is one reason why some experts think waist and hip circumferences as well as other factors can be a better overall health measurement then just the BMI total calculation.