What is BMI, anyway?

December 7th, 2010 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

Very simply, your BMI is your Body Mass Index and is an easy way to measure if you are overweight, underweight, or in a normal range.  It’s one of the numbers you should pay attention to over the long haul, as seeing the numbers can help you keep your weight in check.  Ideally, once you have reached a normal weight your BMI shouldn’t change over time.  If it does, either your height is changing or your weight is changing.  (Either change is good to note to stay healthy!)

Did you know the BMI measurement was “invented” in the mid 1800s?  A Belgian statistician and social scientist named Quetelet (currently topping my list of favorite names) came up with the formula: an individual’s body weight divided by the square of his or her height.  Although it doesn’t measure body composition (percentage body fat), it can still be useful.

Looking at what I used to weigh, I had a BMI of 32.  I was obese.  It is funny to think about it now, but also pretty frightening.  I am now at roughly 23-24.  Not bad.

In a recent study, researchers compiled data from more than 1.4 million people and came up with some interesting results for the best Body Mass Index in otherwise healthy adults.

Get this: the subjects (healthy adults) with the best survival rate after ten years were the nonsmokers with a BMI of 20-24.9.

At the same time, obese nonsmoking women with a BMI of 30-34.9 were 44% more likely to die than the 20-24.9 group.  Forty-four percent higher risk of dying within ten years. 

Yikes.  The difference between a BMI of 24.9 and a BMI of 30.0 is about 30 pounds.  Thirty.  If you have more than 30 pounds to lose, start working on losing it now to treat yourself and your body appropriately—the longer you wait the less time you have to do it.

Faring even worse was the group of extremely obese nonsmoking women with a BMI of 35-39.9: they were 88% more likely to die within 10 years than the 20-24.9 group.   The study also found a correlated increased risk if the subjects reached a BMI greater than 25 by the time they reached 50 years of age.

And these are all non-smokers! 

I blog about this subject today because knowledge is power and I am always aiming to empower you.  It’s exciting to see a changing BMI because it only enforces the fact you can absolutely change your body.  YOU HAVE THAT POWER.

Awesome, isn’t it? 

If you need some help please don’t hesitate to contact me; we’ll talk about a strategy and keep you on a path to success!

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