Use this free calculator to calculate your current body mass index. For your convenience, here is a BMI scale to see how you compare.
|18.5 - 24.9||Normal|
|25 - 29.9||Overweight|
A Piece of Your Puzzle, Your BMI
Calculating the BMI for a man, woman, adolescent or child can be a puzzle piece when determining the overall health of the individual. The body mass index will let the person know if they need to consider a visit to the doctor to investigate any possible health issues that are affecting their BMI.
A BMI that measures within the normal range is not a substitution for regular checkups and follow-up medical care that your doctor recommends.
How the BMI was Born
The BMI was developed by Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet in 1844; the formula was initially named the Quetelet formula. It was developed to use in the study of activity levels and diet for particular social groups. Quetelet was a Belgium sociologist, mathematician and statistician.
He measured 5,000 Scottish soldiers as part of a study to develop a field of study called social physics. Following the 5,000 Scottish soldiers measurement, the Quetelet index was born and has continued to be used for more than 100 years!
He concentrated on this social physics field of study. This led him in the direction of looking for the statistical laws in social development such as public health issues, marriage rates, crime rates (criminology) and suicide rates.
This type of study was referred to as anthropometry, which means ‘measurement of humans.’ This term is used to describe scientists measuring and studying human individuals. The scientists study humans in an attempt to understand the variations between them. These variations also include differences in physique.
Today, we use these physique studies to design products and clothing. These studies are also used for any other product that needs an understanding of the various body sizes and dimensions. Using this information assures these products offer optimal performance.
In 1972, the Quetelet index was renamed the body mass index (BMI). That same year a study stated that the body mass index was a better measurement for a population of individuals rather than for a single individual. Despite the results of the 1972 study, the BMI scale continues to be widely used calculations/calculators when determining the state of an individual’s weight and therefore, their health.
A scientist named Ancel Keys was doing a similar social study to Quetelet’s study. The BMI technique caught on and became popular with fitness enthusiasts and health care professionals. Because of this, individuals began using the BMI as their guideline for determining a healthy weight. Today, it is a very common tool that is used in the fight against obesity.
What Does My BMI Mean?
Many people do not understand what their BMI is or what it means. The BMI or body mass index is the amount of fat in your body. Your body mass index shows you whether you need to lose weight or build up your muscles to lose body fat. The BMI is the international measure used for checking your obesity. It is healthier to have less fat and a higher muscle mass.
The main goal of the BMI is to assist the individual in determining the ideal weight for their body. The BMI also assists doctors and patients giving them the opportunity to talk about the patient’s weight objectively. The BMI will give physicians and personal trainers a better picture of the health of the patient/client. This will assist in accurately assessing the most important weight related health issues.
An individual that is overweight may only need to eat healthier and exercise to lower their BMI. A person who is morbidly obese or obese has an increased death risk of 50% to 150%. This health issue may require medication or some other kind of intervention to work towards a more healthy BMI.
You & Your BMI
Your BMI provides very valuable information about your health. The BMI formula combines your height and weight to determine your BMI number. This number will determine if your height and weight are a healthy combination. In short, the BMI determines if you are underweight, overweight or obese.
There are different BMI formulas that are used depending on the system that is used for measurement. All that is necessary to determine your body mass index is your height and weight. You will need height and weight in metric measurements (meters and kilograms) or in US standard units of measurement (inches and pounds)
Be Sure to Measure Your Height & Weight Correctly
To correctly measure your height, you need to stand in your socks (or barefoot) on a flat surface. Place your heels together with your butt, back and shoulders flat against the wall. Determine your height by the tallest point of your head. Mark that point on a growth chart or on a wall. Once you have your height measurement, round it to the closest ¼ inch. Then convert your height into all inches-no feet. For instance if you are 6’2” tall you would be a total of 74”. To find your height under the metric system, use centimeters to measure your height.
A scale is necessary to determine your weight. Be sure to place the scale on a hard and level surface. Be sure to stand flat and straight on the scale. Wear as few articles of clothing as you can (none would be ideal). The scale will give you your weight. Your weight needs to be rounded to the closest pound for your BMI calculation. To weigh yourself under the metric system, use kilograms to measure your weight.
After you obtain your weight and height, you can use one of the BMI formulas below or our BMI calculator.
Using the BMI Formula
Fitness experts and doctors check their client’s and patient’s BMI on a regular basis to ensure that their weight is within a healthy range.
- If your BMI is below 18.5, you will be advised to eat more and make slight changes to your diet. This will assist you in gaining weight and bringing your BMI within the normal range.
- If your BMI is between 25 and 30, you are considered officially overweight. You will be instructed to exercise more frequently and alter your diet to assist in your weight loss. This will lower your risk of obesity and reduce your chance of developing more health problems. The doctor and/or fitness expert will caution you to avoid gaining any more weight.
- If your BMI is 30 or above, the doctor will usually refer you to a dietitian, suggest weight loss programs and specific diets. He may even suggest you consider a consultation with a bariatric surgeon. Sometimes a surgical procedure is recommended to assist you in your weight loss program.
Doctors generally outlines the health risks that increase with obesity. Health issues like heart problems, diabetes and higher cancer rates, cardiovascular disease (these are just a few).
US Standard Units of Measurement
- Your weight in pounds x 703 ÷ square of your height in inches = your BMI, or
- Your weight in pounds x 703 ÷ your height in inches Then take this number ÷ your height in inches again = your BMI.
Your weight in kilograms ÷ square of your height in meters = your BMI
Once you know your BMI percentage, you need to see where you are on the BMI table.
The BMI Table
According to the American BMI Standards:
- A BMI that is below 14.9 is considered anorexic.
- A BMI that is below 18.5 is considered underweight.
- A BMI between 18.5 and 25 is a healthy weight.
- A BMI between 25 and 29.9 is overweight.
- A BMI that is 30 and over is considered obese.
- A BMI over 40 is considered morbidly obese.
Other countries determine what is overweight, normal and obese for themselves.
BMI Ranges in Other Countries
- Japan & Singapore have decreased their ranges for the BMI level. In Japan, an individual is considered to be obese if their BMI is higher than 25. In Singapore, a person is not considered severely underweight unless their BMI is lower than 15. Many of the other countries’ BMI ranges are based on health risks instead of weight.
- The United States seems to have the highest BMI ranges; however, the U.S. also has more people that are overweight.
The BMI is a more reliable number to determine a healthy weight than just bodyweight alone. This is because height and weight are considered, not just bodyweight by itself. For example, a healthy weight varies depending on the height of the person.
- A person with a height of 5’1” will have a different healthy weight than a person with a height of 5’8”.
- A man and a woman that are both 5’8” in height will have different healthy weight levels.
On occasion, some people who calculate a normal BMI can have excess fat or vice versa. The previously mentioned BMI range does not apply to pregnant women or nursing mothers.
How to Use a BMI Calculator
It is very easy to determine your body mass index (BMI) using a BMI calculator. Just enter your height and weight into our BMI calculator. The calculator will use the nationally accepted formula to show you your results and what your results mean. This is a quick and easy method to determine your BMI and get started on your way to a healthier body.
Your Personal BMI
Knowing your personal BMI and monitoring your BMI regularly is very important. The BMI is one of the more relevant tools that are used in healthcare. By checking your BMI today, you can find out if you are within the healthy range. If your BMI is too high, or too low try to make the necessary changes to live a healthier life. Whenever you lose or gain weight, you need to check your BMI again.
If you are in the overweight or obese category, you should consider analyzing your ‘food’ relationship. This would help you determine what kinds of food you eat and why you eat them.
If you are in the underweight category, you may also want to consider your relationship with food to make sure you do not avoid eating for any particular reason. If you do avoid eating or tend to ‘binge’ eat, it is very important to visit your physician to correct this problem, as it could be very detrimental to your health and well-being.
Before making any changes to your diet or starting an exercise program you should always consult your physician first.
It is important to know where your BMI falls within the category. This is because you will be high, low or in the middle of your category. Knowing your location on the BMI table can assist you in realizing exactly what is necessary for you to achieve your goals for gaining weight or losing weight.
For instance, if your BMI is within the normal range but is on the high end you are very close to being considered overweight. You should start to increase your physical activity and then make some changes in your diet that will help you in lowering your BMI. This will ensure that you stay within the normal range of the BMI scale.
Once I know My BMI, How do I Use It?
Your BMI is a fantastic place to begin when you are attempting to find out where you stand in terms of your health. It is very easy to get your BMI rating almost immediately. All you have to do is punch in a few numbers and push calculate, you will get your results in seconds.
Carrying the excess weight can cause a laundry list of problems with your health. Some of these problems are minor and are more of an inconvenience, while others are extremely serious and life threatening.
Many of the problems associated with a high BMI can alter the direction of your life. It can limit your abilities, causing you to avoid various activities that are more difficult for heavier people to participate in.
It is important to note that many of the illnesses listed below could have some serious consequences.
- Gallbladder disease is a condition that can cause inflammation and stone production causing pain and/or blockage and infection.
- Metabolic syndrome can cause an increased risk of type II diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, fatty liver disease, heart disease, kidney damage causing protein leakage into your urine, polycystic ovary disease, with aging it can cause dementia and cognitive decline.
- Fatty liver disease can lead to liver cancer, liver failure or liver-related death.
- Hypertension (high blood pressure) is another problem that is linked to a high BMI. This condition requires that you reduce your sodium intake and probably need daily medication. Hypertension is a serious risk factor for cardiovascular problems.
- Urinary stress is another condition that a high BMI can frequently cause. This is sometimes a very embarrassing condition requiring additional kinds of protection to avoid certain situations.
- Gastro esophageal reflux is a very uncomfortable and painful condition that is caused and also aggravated by a high BMI. It could make it necessary to alter the variety of foods you eat, modify your sleep practices and even make it necessary to take daily medication in order to control your acid reflux.
- Osteoarthritis can seriously influence your mobility and impair your daily activities by causing pain.
- Sleep apnea can also be caused by a High BMI level. Sleep apnea not only affects your rest but also your energy. This could put your safety at risk by causing excessive sleepiness while operating a motor vehicle, which could be catastrophic. Sleep apnea will also increase your chances of having cardiovascular problems as well as shortening your life span.
- Cancer risks for certain kinds of cancer are elevated because of a high BMI level.
- Cardiovascular problems can be caused by a high BMI level. Some of these problems include; high cholesterol, hardening of your arteries, elevated triglycerides and these are just a few. These conditions could cause you to suffer a heart attack and die.
- Type II diabetes can sometimes be controlled through exercise and diet. However, in many cases, insulin has to be taken daily. The results of your high BMI has led to a life of taking pills or insulin injections on a daily basis for the rest of your life. Diabetes can also lead to other complications that are more serious such as amputations, blindness or even death.
Knowing about the problems that a high BMI can cause is important because it helps you understand why you need to make the necessary changes to lower your BMI level.
Some people have undiagnosed medical conditions that are causing their weight gain. Some of these conditions include a thyroid problem, mental problems that cause overeating. No matter what the cause, having an overweight/obese BMI level is detrimental to your mind and your body.
It is very important to avoid losing the weight too quickly otherwise, you will lose muscle instead of fat. Eating healthy but on a regular basis is extremely important when trying to drop extra pounds. This is because if your body is not receiving proper nourishment it will think it is starving, panic and then begin storing excess fat in your reserves. This action will counteract all the things you are doing in an attempt to lose your excess weight.
Try eating six small meals daily instead of three large meals. Once you lose the weight and reach a normal BMI level, you will feel much better and have energy you did not know you had.
You need to remember that just because a person is thin does not necessarily mean that they are healthy. If you are too thin that could also lead to a variety of health problems. Being too thin can affect the immune system by making it susceptible to a lot of illnesses and infections. Do your best to find a healthy medium between physical activity and food.
Remember that your BMI calculation is meant as a guide; if you are interested in starting an exercise program or starting a diet it is best to speak with your physician first. A woman that weighs 140 pounds and is 5’4” in height is considered to be overweight according her BMI calculations. However, if that same woman only has 2.5% body fat and her weight comes from muscle, she clearly would not be considered overweight.
The next step is to start eating a healthy diet. While it is very true that in all of the weight loss programs exercise is very important, make sure you do not overlook your diet.
You need to eat vegetables and stop eating red meat, at least for some time. Satisfy any cravings for sweets with fruit juices and fruit instead of eating foods containing processed sugars; this is a more healthy way to fulfill your cravings for sweets.
Start a Food Diary
Be honest in your diary. This is just for you and no one else needs to see it. Keeping track of your calories is also a good idea. With a little effort you can find calories for nearly every food possible. This will assist you in staying on track and avoid foods that are not good for you. I
Even if you are underweight, a diary is a good idea. You can keep track of what you do eat to make sure you are eating a healthy diet and consuming enough calories each day.
Avoid the Scale
Many people think that the scale is the only thing necessary to determine their loss of weight. However, while the scale is important, it neglects to take into consideration the entire picture.
The problem with only using the scale is that if you are dieting and exercising you could be converting fat into muscle. This is true especially if you are lifting weights as well. If your work outs are effective you may not actually see any loss of weight for some time because your fat could be turning into muscle. A lot of people quit when they get discouraged because they have only lost a few pounds. They do not realize that their diet and exercising has been effective.
Forget using the scale and just use pictures to keep track of your progress. You may need help from a friend to accomplish this; however there is nothing more motivating than seeing your accomplishments as you look at each picture week after week. Many people feel that working out with a friend is a good way to remain on track through their diet and exercise regimen. The friends’ offer each other encouragement and competition can be motivating as well.
If your BMI is 28.8 and you are aware that you need to lower your BMI to at least 24.9 to reach a healthy category, which is less intimidating losing 4 BMI numbers or needing to lose over 20 pounds?
This thought pattern is not meant to trick yourself, you know you still need to drop weight. However, keeping track of your BMI each week or every other week can assist you in achieving your weight loss goals with another mind set. If you work with a company specializing in weight loss or a personal trainer they will weigh you and also calculate your BMI for you.
The most important thing is to go ahead and get busy doing something. Even if you just start your program by eating well and walking a couple times a week. Any action that you take will have a positive impact on your health.
Once you begin your lifestyle changes you may start feeling better and have extra energy, which will help encourage you to continue with your healthier lifestyle.
A High BMI Means Changes
Many times when a fitness specialist discovers that your BMI is over 30, the specialist outlines a very rigid program to lower your BMI and improve your health. The specialist will advise you on combining weight-bearing and cardiovascular exercise and on various ways to change your eating habits to make sure you receive the best results possible.
The specialist may want to follow your progress, monitoring your BMI and ensuring that the right steps are being taken to achieve your goals effectively.
Know Your Healthiest Weight
Your weight is a very important factor of your health. Knowing the healthiest weight for you isn’t as simple as standing on the scale. A healthy weight is not determined by the scale’s reading by itself. This is because muscle assists in burning fat, so more muscle means less fat. However, you will weigh more on the scale because muscle weighs more than fat.
For instance, a woman who weights 165 pounds and is 5’5” tall has a 27.5 BMI. For her to have a normal BMI range she should weigh approximately 150 pounds.
By charting your height and weight you can measure what your BMI is compared to the standard. Once you are aware what your BMI is you will be able to take whatever action is necessary to get your BMI within the acceptable range.
The BMI has two components weight and height. Your height and weight in relation to one another gets charted to help establish which fat risk category you belong to.
Obese is the more dangerous category when it comes to your health. However, being underweight can also be very dangerous but if you are overweight there are other health issues to consider. Every country has its own table to determine where you stand concerning your BMI score. Age and gender do not make a difference when determining your BMI rating if you are older than 20.
The body mass index values are only intended to gauge the fat and body composition and are not meant to replace your physician’s advice. The BMI does give you a guideline to inform you where you rate on the BMI chart. This knowledge gives you the information you need to make better choices and get healthier.
It is always very easy for us to compare ourselves to other people, such as an actress on television or in a magazine, our favorite athlete or our friend who only weighs 120 pounds. We have to remind ourselves that their weight may not be a healthy weight for us; it may not even be considered a healthy weight for them.
Another thing that many people do is judge their weight using abstract things. These things include what their weight was in their younger years or who weighs more in the family, etc.
Body-mass Index for Women
Most women have concerns about how they look and many have issues with their body image. Women calculating their BMI is a great way for them to get a good idea as to whether they need to be concerned about their weight.
A woman who is muscular may have a high BMI number and therefore falls into an overweight section when she actually has no weight problem.
The woman’s number may surprise her if she thinks that she weighs too much and her BMI score is within the normal range. Hopefully, knowing this will help her to develop a better self-image despite the number that is shown on the scale.
If the woman’s BMI shows her to be overweight or obese, she may use her body mass index result as a catalyst to make positive changes in her health and ultimately her life.
A crash diet is not the answer when attempting to lose weight. It is better for her to begin a weight loss program by visiting her physician. She should request a complete physical and discuss what her weight loss plans are with her physician.
By making some minor changes to her diet and exercising more can help her to reach her goal of a healthier weight. Not only that, but this method of losing weight will make it much more likely that she will be able to keep the weight off long term.
What BMI do Men Generally Like Best on Women?
Most men think that the best BMI for a woman is between 18.5 and 25. Within this BMI range women are usually thin but still have curves. The women look healthy and also feel good.
For the multitude of women, having a healthy BMI helps them to be more confident. They know how good they look, men find this very appealing.
Women with a BMI at 17.5 or Less
When a woman’s BMI is 17.5 or less, she will have very few curves and sometimes even appears frail. Many women that have a BMI within this category are ill or anorexic. This look is usually not considered to be appealing to men or women.
Women with a BMI at 18.5 or Less
If your BMI is less than 18.5, it may be time to consider some changes in your diet to gain some weight. Even if you just increase your weight the slightest bit you may bring yourself back into a healthy BMI category. This will give you some of the curves that men find appealing.
Being underweight could mean underlying health issues such as undiagnosed diabetes. It could be an indication of bulimia or anorexia, which are eating disorders, or mental depression. Many times underweight people have osteoporosis. Underweight women may have fertility problems due to irregular periods. They may also have immune system deficiencies or anemia.
To achieve gaining weight, add foods to your diet that you like and will continue to consume. Try to choose the foods that are higher in fat rather than the low fat dairy and meats. Eat nuts and snacks that have a high calorie count and are high in the healthy fat. Keep exercising and avoid choosing unhealthy foods. It is important to steer clear of excessive exercise and extreme diets.
Women with a BMI Higher than 25
If you are a woman with a BMI that is slightly higher than 25, there are still quite a few men that will find you attractive. Some men like women who are a little curvier, so they find women with a BMI between 25 and 30 very attractive. If you are interest in attracting even more attention from men, you need to consider lowering your BMI below 25, but still within the healthy range.
Pay attention to your weight to ensure you do not increase your BMI to 30 or above because that category is considered to be obese. A BMI that is located within this category means that you will not feel or look as good.
Women with a BMI that is Higher than 30
If you have a BMI that is higher than 30, fewer men find this range attractive. Usually, most men are not attracted to women who fall within the obese range on the BMI scale. There are some men who are attracted to obese women; however they are usually an exception to the norm.
If you are interested in attracting a multitude of men, you need to take control of your weight immediately. You will have to dedicate yourself to permanent lifestyle and dietary changes to rid yourself of the added weight and lower your BMI.
Children & Their BMI
BMI measurements can be taken on children as young as two years old. Even if the child’s body mass index number is higher than the number that is considered normal, the BMI by itself cannot be used as a diagnostic tool.
A child that has a high BMI should be taken to the doctor. The doctor will decide whether the child actually has a problem with excess fat on their body.
A high body mass index reading on a child should indicate that the doctor needs to investigate further, not that the child needs to be put on some kind of radical diet.
Other things need to be considered such as the child’s family history, physical activity level as well as other health screening that the doctor feels should be conducted.
Teens & Their BMI
When a child becomes a teenager, the body mass index test can still be utilized, however the reading must take into consideration the fact that the levels of body fat change during puberty. Girls and boys body fat is different, the BMI measurement by itself may not reflect this.
Men & Their BMI
The identical formula determines the BMI for men and women. This number is used as a screening tool by doctors as well as other health professionals to assist in determining a man’s overall health. The body mass index is not intended to replace any other screening methods that are used to determine a man’s health
Even if a man’s BMI is within the weight range that is considered healthy, it is important for him to continue seeing his doctor to receive regular checkups.
An extremely muscular or athletic man may be perfectly healthy even though his BMI is high. If there is any concern about the man’s BMI number he can make an appointment with his doctor to ensure he is healthy. By doing this it will assure that he has no underlying health conditions to be concerned with.
Men with a BMI Lower than 18.5
A BMI that measures lower than 18.5 is in the underweight category. For some women this BMI is considered to be hot, but for the majority of women it is considered to be too thin.
Start Your Weight Loss/Weight Gain Transformation with a Journal
A good way to start your transformation is to track everything you eat in a weight loss/ weight gain diary. This will help you with identifying any poor habits that you need to change and will also help you to avoid overeating.
Research the Options that are Available
It would also be beneficial for you to research philosophies for eating healthy and different healthy diets that are recommended by a physician.
Learn what foods to stay away from and tips for snacking, eating out and cooking healthy. By doing this, you will be able to decide which plan works the best for you. You will also have a better chance of finding a diet that you can maintain long term.
Stick with Your Plan
It is important for you to find an eating plan that will work for you and also includes food that you like. By doing this you increase your chances of sticking with it for the long term. If your BMI is rather high, you will probably have to work really hard to lower it and then keep it down. Make sure the way you choose to lower or raise your BMI is something you can live with for a long period of time.
Becoming More Active
Make a plan to increase your activity. Many times a high BMI is actually due to a lifestyle that is inactive. This means that you need to add exercise and activity routinely to your life.
More and more jobs have become sedentary and a lot of people spend escalating amounts of time sitting at their computer. Today, active lifestyles are a rarity. Plan to move around if you want a healthier BMI level.
Keeping Track of Your BMI
After calculating your BMI you can begin to make conscious choices about your physical activity and diet.
- If you are within the underweight category, you need to start working on your core and strength training to begin building muscle. Your diet needs to be well rounded and have all the correct portions (these will be listed on the food pyramid guide). You may find it necessary to increase your food consumption or change the kinds of food you have been eating.
- If your BMI falls within the normal range, you should continue maintaining your exercise regimen as well as a healthy diet. Be active daily and ensure you are meeting all of your nutritional needs.
- If your BMI is within the overweight category you need to add some fat burning and cardio exercises to increase your level of fitness.
- Your ideal BMI will generally remain the same. As long as your height does not change, your perfect weight will always be within the same range. Your actual BMI level will change with the variances in your weight.
Remember that you will not be able to change your BMI overnight. It will take some time, use tracking your BMI as self encouragement and do not take it out on yourself if your progress is slow.
The healthiest changes in BMI are the ones that take longer to achieve. Any quick drastic weight loss or weight gain is usually short lived. This kind of up and down will discourage you and you may decide to just give up once and for all.
Depending on the category your BMI places you in, consider contacting a personal trainer. A personal trainer will have the knowledge necessary to determine what you should do to lower or raise your BMI level. An overweight person will usually be able to begin an exercise routine. A person that is obese may need some time to lose weight prior to beginning to exercise.
Your BMI measurement is not the same as your actual measurement of body fat. The BMI measures fitness and determines your ideal weight based on your height.
Gaining Weight & Your BMI During Pregnancy
It is absolutely normal to gain weight during pregnancy. A woman who is pregnant should discuss these issues with her physician. The total weight gain during the pregnancy is extremely important for the fetus and the physician should monitor the expectant mother’s weight gain during each stage of pregnancy.
If the physician notices a sudden increase in weight loss, weight gain or not gaining the appropriate amount of weight these may be a sign of health issues that need addressing.
A woman should expect her body mass index to significantly increase throughout her pregnancy. In the majority of cases, it should. She needs to make her goal to return to a healthy BMI following the birth of her child. Remember, this reduction in BMI will not occur overnight.
The amount of weight a woman should gain during her pregnancy will depend on what the woman’s BMI was prior to conceiving. The ‘normal’ weight gain for a woman during her pregnancy is somewhere between 25 and 35 pounds. However, this weight gain is based on the woman having a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 prior to pregnancy. This is the normal BMI range and is considered to be a healthy weight for women who are not expecting.
A woman who is underweight at the beginning of her pregnancy with a BMI that is less than 18.5 may be informed that she can gain more weight safely. The goal is to assure that the fetus is getting plenty of nourishment from its mother so that the baby can develop properly and be a healthy weight prior to birth. Babies with a low birth weight are prone to have health issues. If the mother gains somewhere between 28 and 40 pounds during her pregnancy, this would be beneficial for her and the baby.
If a woman begins her pregnancy overweight or obese, her physician will usually suggest she doesn’t gain as much weight during her pregnancy as a woman that is within the healthy BMI range. For example, if an expectant mother has a BMI of 25 and 30 the physician will generally recommend a weight gain of somewhere between 15 and 25 pounds. For a woman who has a weight that is higher than normal and has a BMI of 30 or higher, the physician will probably recommend a total weight gain of 15 pounds throughout the entire pregnancy.
After the Arrival of the Baby it is Time to Drop the Weight
New mothers have many demands on their time once the baby comes home. The lack of a good night’s sleep makes it even more challenging for her to maintain her own health. It is not considered unusual for a mother who gave birth within the past 12 months to still have a few pounds left of the baby weight. She just needs to give herself some time.
For most women, the weight that they have difficulty shedding is generally about five pounds. Approximately one out of five new mothers weigh somewhere between eight and eleven pounds more twelve months following the child’s birth. These women need not worry, they just need to take some time and chart their BMI regularly and then take the following actions to lower their BMI.
Attaining a Healthy BMI After Child Birth
There are a few things that can be done after the baby is born to assist the new mother in lowering her BMI level. One of the greatest things she can do is breast feed for a long period of time. It takes quite a bit of energy for her to produce milk. This will help her to lose the weight she gained throughout her pregnancy easier. The nursing act itself also causes uterus contractions, this helps to shrink her uterus to her pre-pregnancy size quicker.
While she is nursing she needs to be sure and eat healthy to support the milk production that is occurring in her body. Her diet should include fruits, whole grains, vegetables, low-fat dairy and lean meats. This diet will make it much easier for the new mother to return to her pre-pregnancy weight (or close to it) while meeting the demands of caring for her child. Needless to say, a mother that is not nursing will also be able to lose weight and attain a healthy BMI quicker by eating healthy.
Regular exercise is also helpful to a new mother. This helps her to manage her weight and meet the many demands of motherhood. If she can find an exercise class that concentrates on post-natal exercise, it will help her to stay fit and also introduce her to other women in the same situation.
Attempting to calculate a healthy BMI for the new mother is probably something she should not do until quite some time following the child’s birth. The more weight that the new mother gained during her pregnancy will make a difference as to how long it will be before she loses that excess weight once the baby is born.
The Healthy BMI for the New Mother
There is no particular number that indicates a healthy BMI for a new mother. Despite what some think, the baby weight does not just fall off right after the birth of the baby.
The amount of time necessary to return to her pre-pregnancy weight will depend on the amount of weight she gained during her pregnancy. It will also depend on the lifestyle choices the new mother makes following the delivery of the baby. The body mass index is only one aspect of a healthy individual.
As she tries to regain her pre-pregnancy shape following the birth of her child, she needs to consider her BMI a tool for tracking her progress. She needs to remember that her BMI is not the only indication of her health.
How is a Child’s BMI Calculated?
A child’s BMI is calculated differently than adults. The basic formula remains the same; [weight/ (height x height)] x 703 = BMI, other considerations are used when determining the BMI of people that are less than 20 years old.
To determine the BMI of a younger person the same formula is used, but the age of the individual and their gender is factored into the total calculation for their BMI.
Why a Child’s BMI is Measured Differently
When measuring an adult’s BMI, age and gender are not considered. However, when measuring a child’s BMI both their age and gender are considered. The reason is because children are still growing.
For instance, a 15 year old female may have a lower BMI than an eight year old female because the eight year old may still have some of her ‘baby’ fat. These are the things that are taken into account when determining a child’s BMI level.
When configuring a child’s BMI, their height and weight are compared on a chart. This is a national chart of children in the same age group.
The children are ranked by percentile. Very similar to the way the child’s doctor will rank the child for an annual physical. The doctor usually pulls out a growth chart to show you the comparison between your child and the other children in their age group. This is relatively the same thing. Documenting a child’s height, weight and age and placing it on a chart according to gender. Their placement on the chart determines their BMI level. According to the BMI charts, a child that is placed in the 95 percentile is considered overweight.
Important Information about Getting Your Child’s BMI
The BMI index does more than just tell you if your child is considered overweight; it also determines if your child is underweight.
There are a variety of changes occurring in your child’s body between the ages of eight and sixteen. Because of these changes, children tend to look like their clothes are a couple sizes too big.
If your child is underweight look at his/her lifestyle. If they are getting exercise, have high energy levels and are eating well you shouldn’t be very concerned.
If your answer was ‘no’ to any of the previous questions, it may be time to consider that your child could have an eating disorder. It is not necessary to get overly concerned at this point.
Because of the rise in childhood obesity children should have their body mass index calculated as well. Make an appointment to have your doctor assess your child. Following the assessment, your doctor should have some advice concerning your child’s weight.
When calculating the BMI of a child, the age of the child (including months), weight and height needs to be factored into the equation. In addition, it is important to note that some doctors do not like the idea of placing children in the overweight or obese category if the child has not reached puberty. Sometimes the physician will not show concern about the child’s BMI unless the child looks morbidly obese and there are other apparent health risks.
An active child who eats rather healthy may continue to be chubby or sometimes fat until everything balances out following puberty.
Even so, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC (Center for Disease Control) have both recommended that the BMI assessments begin at age two. They believe the BMI could help to predict health problems in the future.
BMI assessments are not a diagnostic tool. This means that you cannot check your child’s body mass index and then assume they are healthy or not by the results of only their BMI.
Only a doctor has the ability to assess your child’s overall health. It is very important to routinely take your child to the doctor for their yearly physicals despite their BMI ranking.
To determine your child’s fat to muscle ratio you will need to use a different formula that will determine your child’s body fat percentage; the BMI does not do this. Regardless, a BMI is a fantastic way to determine whether there could be a problem in the future.
Honestly, you can probably determine whether your child is muscular or fat. Muscular children do not have a rounded face and stomach or any fat rolls. Remember that when you want to dismiss your child’s BMI results because you would rather believe that they are just ‘solid.’ When it concerns your child’s health, you can never be too careful.
A BMI Calculator for Children
The quickest way to determine what your child’s BMI is with a BMI calculator that has been adjusted for measuring children. Be sure to select the child’s gender for accurate results.
BMI calculators are quick and simple to use. The necessary information is input within seconds. Most BMI calculators are based on the CDC’s determinations concerning underweight, overweight, obese and normal.
With a child’s BMI the height to weight facet remains the same. However, their BMIs are compared to other children’s BMIs of the identical sex and age.
This means that if a child’s BMI falls within the fifth percentile, he or she is considered to be underweight.
If a child’s BMI falls somewhere between the 85th and the 95th percentile, he or she is considered to be overweight. A child that has a BMI higher than the 95th percentile would be considered obese.
However, do not get concerned. Children’s bodies change constantly with baby fat, puberty and continuous growth. The BMI is just one indication of the overall health of a child.
Limitations of the BMI
The BMI does have limitations. It cannot take into consideration the person’s muscle mass. This means that a person who is extremely fit and muscular could have an incorrect BMI calculation that falls within the overweight range. This individual needs to be more concerned with measuring their body fat.
If you have an abundance of muscle because you practice an extreme weight training program, your BMI may not accurately reflect your health. As previously mentioned, if you have recently birthed a child, are nursing a child or pregnant, your BMI is not an accurate depiction of your weight for optimal health.
The BMI does not consider a person’s bone size, body size or athleticism. If a person is legitimately big boned, implying a high bone density, he or she may be considered overweight according to the BMI standards. However, he or she could actually be in perfect health.
Also, if someone is very thin, eats a poor diet and makes poor lifestyle choices he could still incorrectly fall within the healthy range. In this case, the BMI is not able to serve as a useful indication of his health. Also, a very tall person’s BMI level can be elevated and still be considered healthy.
An individual may have a healthy weight, but still be extremely unhealthy in terms of exercise, diet and/or lifestyle. The body mass index is not the perfect means for every individual’s measurement.
Even so, the BMI scale provides one of the most accurate scales of an individual’s fitness. Generally, those individual’s with a BMI that is within the normal range are healthier. These people tend to have a healthier immune system and suffer less physical ailments. This is because all their systems are continuously working together.
How do I Lower My BMI?
Your body mass index (BMI) indicates how healthy your body weight is for you taking your height into consideration. Lowering your BMI requires that you focus on exercise and healthy eating.
If your main concern is your BMI, not the ratio of fat to muscle in your body, you will need to focus on exercises and eating habits that assist in losing fat while not increasing muscle mass. You may want to research some weight loss tips while accessing our BMI calculator to continuously track your progress.
What Foods Can I Eat To Lower My BMI?
Nearly any healthy diet will help in achieving weight loss. The weight loss will in turn reduce your BMI. Increasing your intake of fiber will assist in regulating your bodies systems.
The body systems being regulated will give you more energy and may increase your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), which will assist you in achieving your goals in less time.
Also, more important than what you are eating is how you are eating. For many years dietitians have recommended that people should eat six small meals daily, instead of three larger meals. By eating these smaller meals, cravings are reduced and this causes you to eat less. By eating smaller meals that include high fiber foods several times a day, you will feel full faster and longer.
If you eat out of boredom or are an emotional eater there are several things you can do. You should keep a healthy snack nearby or try to do something else to fill the void. Consider chewing gum, creating a project to focus on or calling a friend for support.
One of the most important things is for you to eliminate snacking in between meals. If you are actually hungry, not just snacking out of boredom or emotions, drink a large glass of water to fill your stomach. Sometimes this feeling of fullness will last long enough to get you past the hunger until the next designated meal time.
What Kind of Workouts & Exercises Will Decrease My BMI?
The exercises are the trickiest part of decreasing your BMI. There are a lot of people that do not do the correct kind of exercises when trying to decrease their BMI.
If you are attempting to decrease your BMI you should avoid any anaerobic exercises because they will build body mass. You should focus on aerobic exercises because they are useful when trying to lose fat.
Anaerobic Exercise & Your BMI
Anaerobic exercises are excellent for your body and help in the production of energy while keeping your body healthy. However, over time, anaerobic exercises will prevent you from having a low BMI level.
This is because anaerobic exercises convert fat into muscle instead of your body actually losing the fat. In reality, you have replaced the fat with something else (muscle). Needless to say, weightlifting is one of the main anaerobic exercises.
Aerobic Exercise & Your BMI
Aerobic exercise is designed to assist you in losing fat and not building muscle. With any kind of exercise you will build some muscle, but with aerobic exercise you will only develop a very small amount of muscle.
An aerobic exercise is a cardiovascular exercise, meant to increase the heart rate. Exercises such as dancing, running, swimming, step climbing, etc. are exercises that are considered to be aerobic exercises.
The majority of doctors and personal trainers recommend some of each kind of exercise to remain healthy. Initially, aerobic exercise generally helps people to stay on track because of the visual weight loss associated with this kind of exercise. However, anyone that is extremely overweight should always speak with their doctor prior to beginning any kind of exercise regimen so they don’t hurt themselves or create more health issues.
It is important to understand that if you are extremely muscular a high BMI does not necessarily indicate that you are overweight.
This does not apply to everyone, but the BMI calculators are not able to take into effect muscle mass and does not help determine your muscle mass either. If you are muscular, you will weigh more because muscle is heavier than fat. BMI simply indicates overall good health.
The most common myth is that the BMI determines the percentage of fat in your body. Your percentage of body fat is determined by other factors. Weight, height and waist size are what is used to determine one’s body fat. An individual’s gender and age are also considered because women can remain healthy with more body fat than men. When deciding the amount of weight to lose the BMI and the body fat percentage should be considered.
Another myth is that you are able to diagnose health problems that are related to fat with the use of a BMI level. An individual that is obese is at higher risk for suffering from diabetes, heart disease and stroke, and other health issues. However, there are a multitude of people with a low BMI who are struggling with the exact same issues.
If you have a BMI that is high and you are not extremely healthy or a body builder you should consider losing some weight. That is not to say that it is not possible to have a clean bill of health according to your doctor even if you have a high BMI.
Your BMI is only a tool that is used to guide you in losing weight. Your BMI will help determine if your main focus should be on your exercise or your diet to accomplish your goals concerning your weight loss.
History of BMI
A survey that was published through the U.S. National Health & Nutrition Examination Survey in 1994 showed the following:
- 59% of the men in America had a BMI that was over 25.
- 49% of the women in America had a BMI that was over 25.
- 2% of men in America were considered morbidly obese.
- 4% of women in America were considered morbidly obese.
Another survey that was done in 2007 showed the following:
- 63% of Americans BMIs showed that they were overweight.
- 26% of the 63% were considered obese according to their BMIs.
Needless to say, it is not a secret that Americans are increasingly becoming less healthy and more overweight.
A BMI will provide the correct proportions according to your height and weight to assist you in achieving a healthy body. Do not let yourself get stuck in the state of mind that you need to weigh or lose the same amount of weight as someone else.
It is also imperative to keep an eye on one’s emotional and mental health. Our lives are always full of stress and stress itself plays a large role in our health. A healthy body can help attain a healthy mind and spirit.
BMI & Your Health Insurance Rates
Believe it or not your BMI can affect your health insurance rates. When purchasing your health insurance plan, the health insurance company will consider all possible health risks.
Your BMI will help the insurance company determine whether your weight will be a health risk. An elevated BMI does not necessarily mean that you are definitely going to suffer a stroke, heart attack, diabetes, etc., however, your chances of suffering with any of these conditions is increased when you have a high BMI.
Despite popular belief, an elevated BMI does not just mean you may suffer from serious issues. Many times heavier people have joint pain, back problems, bone spurs, breathing difficulties, arthritis and more.
The health insurance company will consider all these things when they quote you a rate. The reason they do this is because your health insurance will be paying the bills or whatever health issues you suffer.
When applying for health insurance coverage, you will have to undergo a physical examination. Some insurance companies will send you to the doctors they are affiliated with or may allow your doctor to provide them with your physical. The doctor will take into consideration all your health risks. The doctor will also do your BMI calculation to decide whether you are having any issues with weight.
To determine your percentage of fat, they may also request for your doctor to do a muscle to fat ratio calculation. This test can be beneficial to you if you are a muscular individual and have a BMI in the high range. This is because fat weighs less than muscle. The doctor will then forward this information to your potential health insurance company. The company will run your risk assessment with the use of that information.
If your physical indicates that you are at risk for a multitude of health problems, the insurance company’s rates for you will be extremely high.
A normal, healthy BMI will usually receive an insurance premium of about $350.00 monthly, whereas a high BMI can be around $900.00 a month. That is a $550.00 per month difference! That is why staying healthy can keep your health insurance premiums low and also prevents some future health problems.
BMI & Your Life Insurance Rates
Just like when applying for health insurance, the life insurance company will also run your risk assessment based on the BMI score the doctor has given you.
They will also use other things in their assessment. Unlike the health insurance company, the life insurance company doesn’t care whether you may suffer from bone spurs, joint pain, etc.; they just want to know that you will live long enough to pay enough in their premiums to justify their payout for your beneficiaries.
Should your health assessment determine that you are at high risk for dying, you may be unable to purchase a life insurance policy from any company at all. In the least your rates will be astronomical, which could make purchasing life insurance unaffordable.
Determine What Your BMI is Before Applying for Insurance
Prior to applying for any kind of insurance, it is beneficial to know your BMI so you know what could happen ahead of time.
An Example of a BMI Equation
A person who weighs 200 pounds who is 5’7” tall would do their calculation like this:
- 200 x 703 = 140,600
- 140,600/67 (height in inches) = 2,098.50
- 2,098.50/67 = 31.32 BMI
Or you can use the BMI calculator to figure out your BMI level.
Using the body mass index provides you a solid way to set your weight loss goals. While you are going through the process of losing weight you can check your body mass index once or twice a month to compare your results. BMI results are many times less daunting than your weight on a scale. This is especially helpful if you have quite a few pounds to lose.
The elderly (those individuals older than 65 years) need a higher BMI, especially for those women who have osteoporosis. A BMI that is higher than average protects older women from the dangers of osteoporosis (broken bones). For those over 65 years old the best BMI is 25 to 27.
Lean athletes such as swimmers and long distance runners who rely on lean and healthy bodies to excel in their sport will have a low BMI. They may actually register as underweight, but they are actually healthy. Generally, these kinds of athletes eat more calories than those individuals in other categories. The ratio of their calorie intake to calorie burning is what makes them successful.
Try to remember that each step you take toward a healthier BMI will increase your longevity and decrease your risk of suffering with deadly and debilitating diseases.