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Body Mass Index Calculator
What is BMI?
BMI Stands for Body Mass Index. This is a rough calculation used to quickly determine an individual's body fat simply through a calculation of the individual's height and weight. Although BMI is an estimation based off of a small number of variables, it is very effective at giving both the health professional and the patient an idea of his or her body fat status.
The Body Mass Index does not actually directly measure body fat percentage, it simply infers the percentage from the correlation between height, weight, and body fat. Studies have shown that the Body Mass Index has a very strong relationship, and under many circumstances is nearly as accurate as other more intensive methods such as Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry and Underwater Weighing.
Medical researchers consider BMI calculations to be an effective alternative to other more laborious methods of body fat analysis. When used as a part of the average doctor's visit or medical physical, it allows the doctor to explain simply, quickly, and easily the body fat status of the patient. High BMI is associated with numerous medical conditions, ranging from heart disease to diabetes to obesity.
How is Body Mass Index Used?
BMI is utilized in order to screen adults for potential weight management issues. Although the Body Mass Index is an effective tool for preliminary analysis, it is not used as a means to provide a concrete diagnosis of any medical condition. Under certain circumstances, some individuals may have a high BMI without necessarily being obese, for example.
In the context of clinical application, Body Mass Index is simply a preliminary tool used to assess risk. If a patient has a high BMI, it is grounds for further testing by the health provider in order to determine if the patient is at increased risk of disease or if the BMI calculation was fully accurate.
There are a number of evaluations that may be performed in order to properly diagnose Obesity and related medical disorders, including an evaluation of exercise and diet, family history, and measurement of the thickness of the skin folds.
Why does the United States Government utilize BMI as a means to measure obesity in the American population?
The Body Mass Index is one of the best means to provide a nationwide analysis of obesity. Because it only takes a scale, a yard stick, and a calculator to measure, BMI can be used on a national scale in order to provide the most accurate measurement of Obesity in America for the cost.
The widespread use of this measurement technique also allows a patient to understand his or her weight status in simple terms that can be easily compared to the national population of the United States.
What are Other Effective Means to Assess Obesity?
There are a number of other methods available which can effectively assess body fat, including:
What Makes BMI Preferable to these other methods?
Because of the relative effectiveness of BMI to establish body fat mass, it is not necessary to undergo these more intensive methods of analysis, except under circumstances in which they are uniquely warranted.
Another reason that the BMI is such a useful tool, even in comparison to these other, more intensive measures is because it is a simple test which is easily standardized, allowing the individual patient to be easily compared to various subsets of population.
How is Body Mass Index Calculated?
The BMI Calculation is relatively simple, and the formula is the same for humans of all ages. In the metric system, the calculation for BMI is simply the weight of the person in kilograms divided by their height squared.
In the American system, BMI is calculated by taking the weight of the individual in pounds, divided by the square of his or her height in inches. After taking this calculation, multiply the result by 703 and you will get the individual's BMI.
How does BMI Correlate with Body Fat in Adults?
For men and women twenty or older, Body Mass Index is interpreted by correlating weight status to the BMI of the person being measured. In adults, BMI is the same whether you are male or female, but for teens and children, the results of the BMI measurement are interpreted with regard to the sex and the age of the individual.
The analysis of BMI for adults is very cut and dry:
How Trustworthy is BMI as a measurement of Body Fat?
BMI is a great rule of thumb that works under most circumstances, but there are certain variables which must be accounted for when discussing how BMI correlates with health. A number of different factors will impact the relative accuracy of BMI as a health indicator, including age, race, and gender. Here are a few important factors to note:
BMI is Only One Factor Among Many in Regard to Health
Obesity is strongly correlated with many diseases, but it is important to remember that there are numerous other factors which cause disease, and Obesity is just one risk factor among many. Here are some other factors related to Obesity which make the condition more dangerous:
If a Particularly Athletic Individual has a BMI Great than Twenty Five, is He or She Considered Overweight or Obese?
Because of the strict way that the BMI System works, any individual with a Body Mass Index greater than 25 would be considered overweight or obese, even if they are physically healthy. It is important to realize, however, that the BMI is considered a useful and reasonably accurate tool to assess the Body Fat of individuals with normal muscle mass, and is not a direct diagnostic evaluation of body fat.
Highly conditioned athletes frequently have BMIs which would be overweight for most people of the same height and weight. The influence of muscle mass only goes so far, however. Many athletes will appear to be overweight when their BMI is calculated, but almost all individuals with BMIs of thirty or above are at least clinically overweight, even if they have a high level of muscle mass.
What are the Risks of Remaining Obese or Overweight as an Adult?
The subgroups of the BMI are established based upon the correlation between body fat, illness, and mortality risk. People that are clinically overweight have an amplified risk of numerous medical conditions and diseases, including:
How is Body Mass Index Interpreted for Kids and Teenagers?
BMI is calculated using the same math formula for people of all ages. Younger individuals will have their BMI interpreted differently than adults, however. For teens and children, BMI is considered with regard to both the gender and age of the patient. Body Fat percentage is highly dependent upon age before adulthood, and girls and boys develop body fat at different ratios and distributions. By adulthood, the BMI differences between men and women are less dramatic, but should still be accounted for in any form of diagnosis.