Obesity, as you understand, is a metabolic condition characterized by excessive accumulation of fat and more than expected body weight. Body mass index or BMI is a wonderful tool to find out whether one's body weight is within the normal range or not. It is expressed by a simple formula as; weight in the kilogram divided by height in meter square.
BMI = Weight in kilogram / (height in meters)²
Body mass index correctly establishes the relationship between body weight and height.
According to the international obesity task force (IOTF), and National Institute of Health (NIH) agencies, body weight is classified as:
Underweight if BMI is less than 18.5.
The healthy range for the BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9.
Overweight when BMI is between 25 and 29.9.
Class I obesity is between 30 and 34.9.
Class II obesity is between 35 and 39.9.
Class III or extreme obesity is when BMI is more than 40.
Higher body mass index (BMI) has positive correlation with morbidity and diseases like obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, breathing problems and impaired blood lipid profiles. Individuals with high BMI are thus prone for heart attack, stroke, cancer, chronic backache, chest infections, sleep disturbances (obstructive sleep apnea), gall bladder stones, and arthritis of knee and hip joints.
Periodic calculation of BMI helps us identify the factors leading to the excess body weight, and thereby help set goals for weight reduction.
BMI is generally applicable to persons less than 74 years of age. After the age of 75 years, there exist no clear association between increased BMI and diseases or death.
BMI calculation may not be applicable to athletes who have large amounts of lean muscle mass.
In addition to BMI values, fitness and physical activities are also important components of healthy status. For example, physically active otherwise slightly overweight person may be at lesser risk of diseases than an inactive, unfit, lean person with BMI of less than 24.9.
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