Have you ever wondered, “what is a BMI, and what does it say about my health?” Calculating your BMI can be a helpful way to determine your body fat count and check for certain health risks. These measurements, however, do not always accurately represent the total amount of fat a person has.

This article breaks down what is a BMI, the symptoms associated with a low or high number, and how accurate the scale really is.

What Is a BMI?

Body mass index, also known as your BMI, is a measurement used to determine an individual’s body fat count. It factors in the height and weight of a person and helps to calculate certain health factors.

It uses your height and weight to calculate your BMI into one of six categories:

  • Underweight (Under 18.5)
  • Average Weight (Between 18.5 and 24.9)
  • Overweight (Between 25 and 29.9)
  • Class I Obesity (Between 30 and 34.9)
  • Class II Obesity (Between 35 and 39.9)
  • Class III Obesity (More than 40)

A healthy BMI for adults is anywhere between 18.5 to 24.9.

Accuracy of the BMI Scale

When considering your BMI, you should also remember that other factors such as mental health conditions, smoking, and genetics can also affect your health. Your doctor will look at all of these factors to assess what a healthy weight means for you.

For some individuals who have high muscle mass, their BMI may appear to be overweight when their doctor considers them healthy. Other factors that may lead to inaccuracies of the BMI scale are being pregnant, your ethnicity, and diabetes.

There are additional tools that some healthcare professionals may use to calculate a patient’s BMI. These include measuring the circumference of an individual’s waist or measuring how thick the skin is in particular areas of the body. They may even perform a DEXA scan or an ADP test in some instances.

What Is a BMI, and How Does It Affect Your Health?

So, what is a BMI, and how does it affect your overall health? Being considered underweight and overweight can have a severe impact on your body.

Underweight Symptoms

You may be underweight if your BMI is lower than 18.5. Your doctor may order additional testing to check for malnutrition and other serious health risks in this circumstance. Some common conditions associated with a low BMI score are:

  • Infertility
  • Malnutrition
  • Anemia
  • Osteoporosis
  • Weakened immune system

Overweight Symptoms

Similar to having a low BMI, your doctor may order additional testing if your BMI is high. Some common conditions associated with a higher BMI score are:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Gallstones
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Sleep apnea

You may also be at higher risk for breast, colon, gallbladder, or endometrial cancer. While having a high BMI count does put you at a greater risk for these conditions, it is important to note that being overweight is not the only cause.

Now that you can answer, “what is a BMI?”, call the experts at MediPlan Diet Services today at 901-362-7546 to discuss your weight loss goals. Our team of professionals proudly serves southwest Tennessee and northwest Mississippi areas.