Do you have a healthy BMI? The Body Mass Index (BMI) is a calculation which determines a numerical index from comparing your height to your weight. The only two factors which determine the BMI reading is a persons height and bodyweight, and therefore does not take into account a whole host of other factors which would be ideally factored into an assessment of overall health and fitness.
Below is the calculation which determines your BMI.
BMI = weight (in kg) / height (in meters)2
So, for example, a person with a height of 1.8 meters and a weight of 70kg would have a BMI reading of 70kg / 3.24 = BMI of 22 (rounded). So, is this reading “normal”, is this a healthy BMI reading? Lets take a look at how the BMI readings are categorised. Here is a BMI chart which you can easily read from, and which illustrates the categories simplistically.
Having a “healthy BMI”, that is to say a reading which is recommended, would be between 18.5 and 25. However, this is not the whole picture of health or fitness, with the reading having no appreciation for body composition. A well muscled person with a low body fat level may have the same BMI reading as someone who has minimal muscle mass but had a high level of body fat. The latter is very inactive, whilst the former is very active and functional. Taking this example to the extreme, a bodybuilder stepping on stage may have a bodyweight in excess of 100kg whilst having single digit body fat levels, yet he would be labelled “obese” according to the BMI chart. To throw another spanner in the works, there is an interesting topic on we-relax.com which states having a higher BMI may help prevent some diseases, although I have not studied the sources very closely so such a claim should be taken with a pinch of salt. Still an interesting topic however, although it is commonly recommended for the general public to have an average and stable bodyweight for optimal health.
The BMI reading is a general index which can be used for the general public to gauge “normal” bodyweights in comparison to heights. The chart relies on averages, so there will be exceptions to the rules, such as the ones illustrated in the above paragraph. It would be recommended to see your GP for a true indication of health levels, and steps you can take to improve your health.