What is BMI?
BMI, also known as body mass index, is a measure to classify adults under the following categories – underweight, normal, overweight and obese. Your BMI can offer a rough estimate of your overall fitness and risk of developing chronic diseases. You can use the BMI calculator on this page to calculate your BMI.
Your BMI doesn’t assess your body fat, and, therefore, may not be a perfect measure of your fitness. As an example, an athlete may have denser muscles and bones, and hence a higher BMI score than a regular office goer, however, the athlete might not have too much fat. But body mass index is still a good gauge of fitness for most regular office goers.
Calculating & Reading your BMI Score with BMI Calculator
A BMI calculator divides your weight in Kgs by your height in meters squared. You can also arrive at the score through the following formula - divide your weight in pounds by your height in inches squared and multiplying the result by 703. The WHO prescribed BMI chart for adults is as follows:
|Moderate thinness||16.00 - 16.99|
|Mild thinness||17.00 – 18.49|
|Normal Range||18.5 – 24.99|
|Pre Obese||25.00 – 29.99|
|Obese Class I||30.00 - 34.99|
|Obese Class II||35.00 – 39.99|
|Obese Class III||>40.00|
The centre of disease control and prevention (CDC) recommends BMI categorisation for boys and girls aged between 2-20 as follows:
|Healthy||5% - 85%|
|At risk of overweight||85% - 95%|
BMI Score in the Indian Context
The BMI values are independent of age and gender. However, people with same BMI may have different degree of fatness. According to a research, 40% of Indians with a BMI score in the range of 24.00 to 24.99 were diagnosed with a body fat percentage of more than 25%. According to the world health organisation, Indians also have a greater tendency than their western counterparts to gain fat around their abdomens thereby leading to a beer belly. Accumulation of higher fat percentage in Indians is attributed to the thrifty genotype/phenotype. Higher fat percentage also leads to an increased risk of diseases such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, metabolic syndrome and other cardiovascular diseases.
According to a study, the top wealth quintile in India (25% of the population based on household income) are at a higher risk of having a BMI score of over 25.00 than rural Indians. This may be attributed to the urban lifestyle, stress and anxiety levels, lack of physical activity and unhealthy eating habits prevalent in these areas.
Improving your BMI score
Some of the ways to improve your BMI score are mentioned below:
1) Eat healthy –
- Keep a check on the quality and quantity of food you consume in a day and at a particular time
- Eat smaller portions with higher frequency
- Don’t skip your breakfast
- Avoid heavy meals post 8 PM
- Avoid unhealthy, fast food and aerated drinks
You can also check out more articles on healthy eating in our health and wellness section.
2) Exercise -
- According to WHO, an average person should walk for at least 3 KMs a day just to maintain their weight
- Combine your cardio routine with your strength routine to get more out of your workout
- Be regular with your workout schedule
3) Stay happy –
- Channel your energies to constructive work
- Take time out to connect with yourself
- Plan your day well in advance to avoid last minute disasters