Healthy Weight Body Mass Index

Overview

Knowing what a healthy weight is can be confusing. What one health expert says is healthy can differ from the next, and variations in body build can make weight charts confusing. One easy way to know if you are a healthy weight is by measuring your Body Mass Index (BMI). Not only is it a simple calculation, but this measurement can be used as a tool to help reduce your health risks.

Identification

Body Mass Index, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “is an inexpensive and easy-to-perform method of screening for weight categories that may lead to health problems.” Consisting of a calculator to enter your height and weight, finding out your BMI could not get any simpler. Body Mass Index Calculators are found on many websites, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.

BMI Categories

After entering your height and weight into the Body Mass Index Calculator, a number based on a formula will be calculated. The categories, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are as follows: Underweight is considered below 18.5; a normal weight is considered 18.5 to 24.9; Overweight is considered 25.0 to 29.9 and the obese category includes anything over 30.0.

Benefits

Maintaining a healthy weight statistically reduces your chances of developing many health conditions related to carrying excess weight around. Once you hit the overweight and obese categories your chances of developing certain health problems increase. Knowledge is power and if you know you’re getting out of the healthy range, modification of your eating habits can head off problems.

Limitations

One thing to consider is that an individual with a muscular build might actually fall into an overweight category and be perfectly healthy. Another consideration is that you can fall into the right category for your height and weight and still carry too much body fat. This is termed Normal Weight Obesity. The Mayo Clinic defines normal weight obesity as “… a condition of having a normal BMI with high body fat percentage.”

Prevention/Solution

Staying in a healthy category can be challenging. Your age and metabolic rate should be taken into consideration along with your activity level when considering your diet. If you are going through a particularly sedentary stage of your life due to illness, an injury or other reason, consider reducing your caloric intake to account for this. Also, if you are exercising more than usual, you may want to increase your calories.

Maintenance

A combination of exercise on most days of the week along with a healthy diet that includes lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains along with quality sources of lean protein can go a long way toward helping you maintain a healthy body weight.

About this Author

Lynn MacPherson is a freelance writer with a Bachelor of Science from the University of Montevallo. She is an online health and fitness writer where she writes on a variety of topics including obesity, preventative health and nutrition. MacPherson’s work can be found on Examiner, Associated Content and LIVESTRONG websites.