The term ‘body mass index’ (BMI) is used by personal trainers, dietitians and nutritionists alike to describe a person’s body side. The BMI divides a person’s height by their weight in order to get a score. Depending on what this figure is will determine whether or not the person is within a healthy weight range.
What is a healthy BMI?
The answer to this is different depending on the age of the person you’re speaking of. In adults, the scores on the BMI scale are interpreted as follows:
If you have a BMI of less than 18.5
If you have a BMI score which is less than 18.5, this shows that you are underweight. This may mean that you could need to put on some weight.
If you have a BMI of between 18.5 and 24.9
If your BMI falls between 18.5 and 24.9 this shows that your weight is healthy for your height. By keeping your weight healthy, your risk for serious health problems is lower than if your BMI was higher.
If you find that you have a BMI between 25 and 29.9
If you fall within this range, it shows that you’re slightly overweight. Your doctor or dietitian could advise you to lose some weight for health reasons.
If you BMI is over 30
If you have a BMI of over 30 this shows that you are severely overweight. If you don’t lose weight, you could be at risk for serious health problems.
If you want to measure the BMI of children and teens, you’ll go about this in a slightly different manner. This is because boys and girls develop at diverse speeds. At different ages their bodies have different amounts of fat. This means that BMI measurements during childhood and adolescence look at age and sex.
The reason why children are not categorised by healthy weight ranges is because:
- Children change with each month as they get older,
- The body types of boys and girls develop at different rates, and
- Healthy weight ranges change as the child grows taller.
Criticisms of the BMI
There has been a lot of criticism levelled at the BMI. It’s been said that it is an inaccurate measurements of body fat content. In addition, it does not take into account muscle mass, bone density, overall body composition, and racial and sex differences. For example, as muscle weighs more than fat does if a person is well-built but is short, they will be seen to have a BMI that puts them in the obese category when, in fact, nothing could be farther from the truth.
For example, individuals who have a BMI of 30 or more are classified as obese. As such, they are classified as having a significantly higher risk of eventually becoming diabetic, developing cancer, cardiovascular diseases, osteoarthritis, and liver and gallbladder diseases. In addition, the nature of being obese increases the risk of the individual dying prematurely.
Despite these proclamations, a number of investigations have shown that some obese individuals have lower cardiovascular risk in addition to an improved metabolic profile. Conversely, a subset of “normal-BMI” people are metabolically unhealthy and are at increased risk of dying prematurely.
The BMI should not be looked at as the only measure of whether or not a person is in a healthy weight range. To get a more accurate picture of a person’s body composition and overall health it is advised to see a doctor or dietitian. If you need help with developing an exercise plan to help with weight loss, you need to go and see a personal trainer. If you want to become a personal trainer yourself, Trifocus Fitness Academy’s Personal Training Diploma is the perfect qualification for you to get here. For more information, follow this link.