23 March 2004

Find Out If You Are Obese

The Body Mass Index (BMI) is a unit of measure advocated by both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the US National Institutes of Health (US-NIH) to determine when extra pounds translate into health risks. It takes into account the weight and height of a person to gauge total body fat in adults.

A 19th century statistician developed the BMI based on the observation that the average person tends to have weight proportional to the square of his height. Initially, the NIH used to offer men and women separate BMI tables, broken down by body frames, but in 1998 decided to consolidate the whole thing into a one-number-fits-all system.

Currently, based on the US-NIH standards, a BMI of 24 or less is considered healthy, a BMI of 25 to 29 is considered overweight, and a BMI of 30 and higher is obese.

If you are athletic or muscular like what I suspect fellow weblogger Batjay is, the BMI will not correctly measure fatness nor fitness, as in these cases, it has a tendency to overestimate for broad-shouldered people with a fair amount of muscle mass. Therefore, BMI charts will categorize six-foot-tall, 203-lb Brad Pitt as overweight, and six-foot-two, 257-lb Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as obese. But these are exceptions, rather than the rule. Majority of the population can be categorized by the BMI.

You can calculate your BMI here.

If you have further questions and feedback, just click on the comments tag.

Happy calculating!

BMI Calculator courtesy of Steven B. Halls, MD

0 reactions: