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BMI – What is the Body Mass Index?

Posted Apr 08 2014 4:36pm
Body mass index - or BMI

Body mass index – or BMI

When it comes to physical fitness, one often hears that term Body Mass Index or BMI. The is a number that indicates your overall physical condition. This number is based on your height versus your weight and basically expresses your ideal weight based on your height. This number does not however take into consideration your overall physical stature or muscle tone.

It is important to realize that the body mass index is not a measurement of your percentage of body fat. There is a simple equation that you can use to determine your body mass. This equation is your weight divided by the square of your height. There is also a chart available that will provide you with a visual way to determine your body mass index.

This chart uses a graph to indicate where your weight is in conjunction with your height. Along the bottom of the graph is weight listed typically in pounds and kilograms. Along the side of the chart is your height in both feet and inches, and meters.

The chart is then broken into arched sections that are highlighted by different colors. The various colors indicate different weight classifications, these classifications include underweight, Normal, Overweight, and obese. These categories are then broken into subcategories including mild moderate and severe.

The body mass index ( BMI ) was first created in the 19th century as a formula but was not made popular until the 1970′s. This is considered a relatively reliable way to determine physical condition. However it does have some short comings, it may improperly express your condition based on several factors. If you are elderly than your fat percentage may very well be greater than your body mass index. On the other hand if you are athletic then your body fat percentage may be somewhat lower than your body mass index.

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This is particularly true in the case of bodybuilders and weightlifters. An example of this is that a weightlifter who is 6 foot tall may weight well over 260 pounds. The body mass index chart will describe this person as severely obese and be expressed as a 30 on the BMI scale, however this person may have a body fat percentage of less than half of that.

Overall the body mass index chart and equation is a relatively good guide of a person’s physical condition. You should not however let this replace a professional opinion of your physical condition that can only be determined by a physician during a physical. It is important to remember that if you do feel you are overweight and the body mass index indicates this as well, then you may want to consider a training program and a modified diet, it is a good idea however to check with your doctor before ever starting a new training regiment or a diet.

Body Mass Index Guidlines

Now that you know the fact here are the numbers. Simply divide you height by your weight and you will know the number and where you fit in the range.

Severely underweight less than 16.0
Underweight from 16.0 to 20.0
Normal from 20 to 25
Overweight from 25 to 30
Obese Class I from 30 to 35
Obese Class II from 35 to 40
Obese Class III over 40

Although the body mass index is not the only thing to tell your fitness it is still a really good estimation as to how heavy you are. BMI may seem like a great measurement but when you gain a lot of muscle it is less relevent.

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