Saturday, January 26, 2008

Body Mass Index ……..What is all the fuss about?

Did you come across the story carried by the newspapers sometime back about models with BMIs less than 18 being banned from modelling ? So what was all the fuss about?

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a simple numeric measure of a person's "fatness" or "thinness", based on his weight and height.

The mathematical formula is, BMI = (Weight in Kg) / (Height in metres x Height in metres).
Note that generally height is measured in feet or centimetres.

For a layman, it defines categories which say BMI ( 18.5 to 24.5) = Normal Category
BMI ( 25 to 29.5) = Overweight
BMI (30 and above) = Obese ( Grades 1,2,3)
BMI ( < 18.5) = Underweight

Infact a BMI < 17.5 is a sign of Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia,as is becoming increasingly common, especially among the teenaged girls!!!!!
BMI can be used to give a rough idea about the health risks for any person.

Although a very useful tool for health professionals to discuss weight problems more objectively with their patients, it is prone to few misgivings as well.
BMI does not give any idea about the distribution of fat across the body, which is more important to predict health risks. Like for example, higher fat deposits around the waist are a greater health risk than those around the hip, especially in case of ladies.
With the increasing “Gym-Culture”, the emphasis is on fat loss or increasing the muscle mass, which leads to an increase in body wieght. However, although this is a desirable increase in weight, it may increase the BMI value to overweight or even obese categories!!!!!
It does not give any idea about the percentage of fat in our body. Its perfectly possible for a person with a normal BMI to have a very high fat percentage.

However, use it as a general yardstick to motivate yourself in this New Year, to get enrolled in your neighbourhood gym / jogging park / yoga class, or whatever it is that you enjoy among the loads of options available……

No comments: