Understanding Your Body Mass Index
The Body Mass Index, or BMI, was invented back in the 1800s and keeps coming back as one way to predict people's health risk. It is a number calculated from a person's height and weight to reflect body fat percentage. A BMI less than 30 is one of the top five things you can do reduce your risk for a heart attack.
BMI is used as a screening tool to identify possible weight problems. We know that excess body fat can be a health risk. BMI does not measure body fat directly, but it is a fairly reliable indicator. It's both a simple method and a strong method of screening weight categories that increase your risk for a heart attack. A high BMI is also a strong risk factor for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and colon cancer.
What the Numbers Mean
18.5 - 24.9
Individuals within this range are categorized as "Healthy". Being within this range can minimize your risk for cardiovascular. and other chronic diseases.
25 - 29.9
Individuals within this range are categorized as "Overweight".
30 or more
Individuals within this range are categorized as "Obese".
What is a healthy goal for BMI?
A BMI of less than 30 is a healthy goal for high-risk individuals. Even a small weight loss (between 5 and 10 percent of your current weight) will help lower your risk for a heart attack.
However, the BMI calculation does not take into consideration if the weight fat or muscle, so may not be an accurate predictor of risk in individuals who have a high amount of muscle.