The BMI definition and what does BMI stand for?

When you’re trying to lose, gain or maintain weight, there are certainly a lot of numbers to remember. You’ll remember your heart rate while you exercise, your optimal caloric intake when you’re dieting, and, of course, your weight.

Well, we’ve got another number you might be interested in tracking: your BMI. You may or may not be familiar with BMI, so we’ll start from the very beginning. For instance, do you know:

  • What BMI stands for?
  • What the definition of BMI is?
  • What your BMI should be?

No? Read on! Here’s everything you need to know about the definition of BMI.

What does BMI stand for?

First things first: what does BMI stand for? You may have heard someone at the gym talking about it, or heard your doctor mention it. But what do those letters mean? Are they important?

BMI stands for body mass index. Different people might describe it in different ways, but what it boils down to is that it’s a number that represents your weight relative to how tall you are.

Your BMI is easy to calculate. There are tons of BMI calculators online, but it’s actually very simple to figure it out on your own. Just grab a calculator, and remember to use metric measurements. (Kilograms and meters, not pounds and inches.)

First, enter your weight in kilograms into your calculator. For example, if you weigh 140 pounds, you’ll enter 63.5 into your calculator.

Next, divide your weight in kilograms by your height in meters. Five feet nine inches tall? You’ll divide your weight by 1.75. Then, take the answer to that equation and divide it by your height once more.

The answer, in this case is 20.7. Whatever your answer was s your BMI. Easy, right?! So… now what?

What is the BMI Definition?

Your BMI won’t do you much good without a BMI definition. You’ll need to know what this number is used for before you begin to use it to improve your health.

Your BMI, as mentioned, is your weight relative to your height. When you find your BMI, it’s likely going to be somewhere within the range of 18 and 30.  So what does that number mean?

Well, the higher your BMI, the more weight you have in relation to your height. If you’re five foot three and weigh 170 pounds, then you’re going to have a higher BMI than someone who’s five foot eight and weighs the same.

Where you are on the BMI range actually says quite a bit about your health – there are guidelines recognized globally for body mass index and health considerations.

It’s a common misconception that the higher your BMI, the worse your health. That’s just not true. We’ll talk about ranges for BMI in just a minute, but first, understand that someone with a BMI of 20 may be just as healthy as someone with a BMI of 25! And someone with a body mass index of 25 may be much healthier than someone with a BMI of 17.

Is My BMI Too High? Too Low?

If your BMI is over 30, there’s a very good chance that it’s too high. It’s recommended that you see a doctor to discuss your overall health, and whether dietary and lifestyle changes are right for you.

If your BMI is under 18, you also may consider talking to a doctor or a nutritionist. A BMI that’s low on the range may indicate trouble with nutrition, vitamin deficiencies and anemia. People with extremely low BMI may also have fertility trouble and menstrual difficulties.

If you’re anywhere in between, there’s a good chance you’re doing great! Of course, you’ll want to ensure that you’re maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Don’t smoke and be sure to keep alcohol to a minimum. Eat healthy, well balanced and nutritious foods.  And exercise! Nothing will keep your BMI in a healthy range like an appropriate amount of exercise.

There are exceptions to this BMI “rule.” Children under 20 years old follow a different BMI chart. Because they grow so unpredictably, they’re measured on a percentile scale instead.

Adults over 65 may want to chat with a doctor before making assumptions about BMI. A higher BMI may actually be considered healthier for older adults, because of the way our bodies and cell change as we age.

Finally, pregnant women should never rely on BMI as an indicator of health. A healthy BMI prior to pregnancy is usually a good sign for a healthy pregnancy, but your BMI during pregnancy should really never even be measured, much less relied on.

Where is Your Position in the Body Mass Index Range?

Body mass index is like a spectrum. On the one end, you’ve got very low BMI, which is dangerous in its own way. Malnutrition, brittle bones, hair loss and infertility are just a few ways low BMI can impact your health.

On the other end of the spectrum, there’s a BMI that’s too high. Overweight and obese individuals are at a very high risk of disease. Type 2 diabetes, stroke, cancer, arthritis, and heart attack are only the tip of the iceberg. Obesity is the leading cause of death in the United States, and in Europe, it’s second only to smoking as a leading cause.

If you’ve been kind to your body, you probably fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. Everywhere from a BMI or 18.5 to 24.9 is considered a normal, healthy range. Falling within this range isn’t a guarantee that you won’t get sick. But it’s definitely a good way to prevent it as best you can!

So, what does BMI stand for? Body mass index! And what is the BMI definition? It’s your weight in relation to your height. Now that you’re equipped with that knowledge, grab your calculator and figure out your own BMI. See where you fall on the spectrum.

Too high or too low? Chat with your doctor. Somewhere in the normal range? Great! Keep up the good work!

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