Healthy Weight BMI - How to Determine

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body mass index
It is important not to fall victim to what the media says is an acceptable weight. Models and movie stars are thinner than they were 25 years ago, impressing upon society that thinner is better. However, movie stars and models are not necessarily the culprit for the rising eating disorders amongst today’s youth; environmental stressors such as student or work life can cause a decrease in appetite. In any case, obesity has risen as well. It would seem the happy, healthy medium is diminishing.

But keeping tabs on your weight is the first line of defense in fighting off disease. While genetics play a role a person's natural body composition, it is still important to stay within the limits of a healthy weight in relationship to your height and age. The following helps to determine a healthy weight.

Calculate your BMI

Your Body Mass Index (BMI) is a formula used by health and fitness professionals to determine whether a person is underweight, at a healthy weight, overweight or obese. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention lists the following ranges for BMI:
  • Less than 18.5 is underweight
  • 18.5 to 24.9 is at a healthy weight
  • 25 to 29.9 is overweight
  • 30 and higher is obese
To calculate BMI multiply your weight (in pounds) by 703 and divide that number by your height (in inches) squared. You can also find BMI calculators online.

After you have calculated your number, refer to the above chart to see where you fall. Remember that BMI is a guide to determine weight and can give you an idea of whether or not you weigh more or less than you should.

If your BMI is over 25, it is a good indication that you need to start an exercise regimen and revamp your diet with healthier options. If it is less than 18.5, your body may be malnourished. Either case, consult a dietitian for proper nutrition consultation.

Measure Your Waist

Knowing your waist circumference is important for two reasons:
  • It determines whether you are overweight
  • It determines whether you are at risk for disease
To measure your waist circumference, place a measuring tape around your belly button firmly, but not tightly; you want to get an honest measurement. Men with a waist of over 40 inches and women with a waist of over 35 inches are at risk for disease such as high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.

If you are at risk for disease, see your physician and discuss with him or her how to turn your circumstances around with a proper fitness and nutrition program as soon as possible. Your life depends on it.