On our website’s homepage – and on health-related websites all over the internet – you’ll find a BMI calculator.
After inputting a little information, usually your height and weight, a numerical result – when applied to one of a couple of different scales – provides insight into how susceptible you may be to weight-related health issues.
So what exactly is BMI and how can a lightning-quick computation on a website really tell me anything significant about my health?
One at a time, please.
First, to explain what BMI, or body mass index is, I’ll defer to the Center for Disease Control:
Body Mass Index (BMI) is a number calculated from a person’s weight and height. BMI is a fairly reliable indicator of body fatness for most people. BMI does not measure body fat directly, but research has shown that BMI correlates to direct measures of body fat, such as underwater weighing and dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA).1, 2 BMI can be considered an alternative for direct measures of body fat. Additionally, BMI is an inexpensive and easy-to-perform method of screening for weight categories that may lead to health problems.
Now, as how this number relates to your overall health I can add nothing to the CDC’s overview, so I won’t try.
BMI is used as a screening tool to identify possible weight problems for adults. However, BMI is not a diagnostic tool. For example, a person may have a high BMI. However, to determine if excess weight is a health risk, a healthcare provider would need to perform further assessments. These assessments might include skinfold thickness measurements, evaluations of diet, physical activity, family history, and other appropriate health screenings.
Calculating BMI is one of the best methods for population assessment of overweight and obesity. Because calculation requires only height and weight, it is inexpensive and easy to use for clinicians and for the general public. The use of BMI allows people to compare their own weight status to that of the general population.
So, to be clear. The number you see generated by these online calculators or by tests performed by your doctor does not in and of itself indicate that you are healthy or unhealthy regarding your weight and body mass.
But BMI results have long since proven their worth as a valuable screening tool and a key indicator of the likelihood of weight-related health issues.
A BMI test is one of the very first examinations that we’ll perform at your initial consultation. Then, we’ll discuss the result with you and more importantly, explain what that result might mean in terms of how we help you plan your weight loss program.
Visit our homepage, input your accurate height and weight stats, and make a note of your BMI. Is your result a little high? Give us a call or click the schedule an appointment button at the top of this webpage and we’ll discuss ways to lower that number.