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Is BMI (body mass index) the most effective way to determine if you are overweight and at risk of developing cardiovascular diseases?

The most popular question that is always asked when it comes to weight loss is how much one should weigh for a given age and height. Calculating our BMI is one of the ways to determine if we are normal, overweight or obese
When determining how much one should weight, the persons height, age, bone density, muscle fat ratio and sex should be taken into account. BMI uses only weight and height to determine if one is overweight. However, while some health experts say BMI is the best method to determine if an individual is overweight, Recent research has shown that BMI alone should not be used to determine if one is overweight because muscle-fat ration and bone density can give a false overweight or underweight results.

How to use BMI to determine if you are normal, overweight or obese
image source: arthritisashley.com

The most accurate way to determine if you are normal, overweight or obese is to calculate your BMI. It is a very easy procedure and you can do this at home or at a health facility.
You will need 2 values to determine your BMI; your weight in Kg (for example 75Kg) and your height in meters (for example 1.65 m).
Calculate your BMI using the formula below:

BMI = Weight/Height2  
Weight is in kilograms and height is in meters

Example: Jane has a weight of 75 kg and her height is 1.65m. Her BMI is

75/ (1.65)2 = 75/ (1.65×1.65) = 75/2.7225 =27.55

A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered normal
A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight
A BMI of 30 and above is considered obesity

Short comings of BMI
  • BMI has not taken into account that someone with  low bone density (osteoporosis) might get a false BMI reading. A person who has a low bone density may weigh less than someone who has the same body fat and height. BMI will therefore consider the person with low bone density to be healthy, whereas he is not.
  • BMI does not take into account muscle mass. A wrestler may have a higher BMI than an overweight person, whereas he is healthier than the overweight person. This is because his excess weight is due to his well built up muscles and not necessarily body fats


Waist-to-height ratio

According to Doctor Margaret Ashwell who worked and the British Nutritional Foundation and other health experts across the globe, keeping your waist circumference to less than half of your height can help you stay healthy and keep track of your weight. BMI does not take into account, fat that is stored around the abdomen and internal organs. Fat stored in the abdomen is more dangerous than fat that is stored around the gluteal area or hips.
photo credit: nevermindthebuspass.com
A woman who has a weight  of 170 cm should make sure that her waist measurement (circumference of her waist) is below 85 cm
This is easier to calculate and can be done at home.

Waist-to-hip ratio
image source: wikipedia.org

Waist-to-hip ratio is another tool to determine if your weight is normal. It is calculated by dividing the circumference of your waist (measured above the belly button) by the circumference of your hips.
Example: If a woman has a waist circumference of 90 cm and a hip circumference of 110 cm, her waist-to-hip ratio is 90 divided by 110 which is 0.82

For females:
  • A waist-hip ratio of 0.9 and above means you are at risk of having diseases of the cardiovascular system
  • A waist-hip ratio of 0.8 to 0.89 means you are at moderate risk of having diseases of the cardiovascular system
  • A waist-hip Ratio of less than 0.8 means your chances of having diseases of the cardiovascular system are low.

For males:
  • A waist-hip ratio of 1 and above means you are at risk of having diseases of the cardiovascular system
  • A waist-hip ratio of 0.9 to 0.99 means you are at moderate risk of having diseases of the cardiovascular system
  • A waist-hip Ratio of less than 0.9 means your chances of having diseases of the cardiovascular system are low.

Studies have shown that a waist-hip ratio is more effective in predicting and preventing diseases of the cardiovascular system that BMI

Sources:

weight loss 8091436815528733746

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  1. Hi;
    It has been a very informative article. Thank you.
    Enter your height and weight. automatically calculated.
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