Body mass index is defined as the individuals body weight divided by their height in inches. It is a measure of obesity (or non-obesity). BMI is not a diagnostic tool, it is an indicator of weight status. It is a better indicator of excess body fat than body weight measurement alone, which is why medical professionals rely on the universal body mass index scale when evaluating patients health.
The Body Mass Index is generally used as a means of correlation between groups related by general mass and can serve as a vague means of estimating adiposity. This is just one of many factors related to developing a chronic disease (such as heart disease, cancer, or diabetes). As a measure, it became popular during the early 1950s and 60s as obesity started to become a discernible issue in prosperous Western society.
Obesity has become increasingly prevalent in the United States and in Europe over the past several decades. Obesity has been linked to the increased risk of cancer, heart disease, and other health problems. About 14% of cancer related deaths are due to obesity in men over 50 years of age. BMI for adults fall into one of these categories, normal, overweight, obese, or underweight. The only disadvantage of using the Body Mass Index is the difficulty in interpreting the units to actual weight (in pounds) that must be lost.
A BMI nearing 15 is usually used as an indicator for starvation and the health risks involved such as anorexia nervosa. Obesity is defined as a BMI of 30 or if their weight is 20% greater the average person in their age and gender. Extreme obesity is a BMI of bmi calculator or more which is found in 2% of men and 4% of women in the US.
In the United States, it is also used as a measure of being underweight from suffering with eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. However, BMI categories do not take into account many factors such as frame size and muscularity.
In fact, some argue that the error in the BMI is significant and so pervasive that it is not generally useful in evaluation of health. For instance, professional football players who bulk up could be considered obese but are in very good shape and the scale might not reflect their overall health.
If your body mass index is 30 or higher it is recommended that you seek help with progressive weight loss through diet combined with regular exercise such as walking daily.
While the technique for calculating body mass index is the same as in adults, the results are measured differently in children because they are still growing.