BMI (Body Mass Index): What It Is & How To Calculate

This article was medically reviewed by Op. Dr. Ahmet Şadi Kılınç

Reyap Hospital – Istanbul, Turkey

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BMI is an indicator that helps categorize your body weight relative to your height. It is used to assess whether you are underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese. While BMI is a useful screening tool, it doesn’t directly measure body fat but often correlates with other direct measures of fat. It can highlight potential health risks associated with different weight categories but should be considered alongside other factors for a full health assessment.

BMI may not accurately reflect the health or body composition of athletes, pregnant women, the elderly, or muscular individuals. Athletes with high muscle mass may have a high BMI but low body fat, and elderly individuals may have a normal BMI but increased body fat. For these groups, additional assessments like body fat measurements or muscle mass analysis are often more informative.

If your BMI indicates you are overweight or obese, consider making lifestyle changes to improve your health. These can include adopting a balanced diet, engaging in regular physical activity, ensuring adequate sleep, and managing stress. Consulting with healthcare professionals like dietitians or personal trainers can provide personalized guidance and support to help you achieve a healthier weight and reduce associated health risks.

Having a BMI in the normal range doesn’t necessarily mean optimal health, as BMI doesn’t account for factors like muscle mass, body fat distribution, and overall fitness. If you feel unhealthy despite a normal BMI, consider evaluating other health markers such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels, blood sugar, and overall fitness. It’s also important to look at your diet, activity level, sleep quality, and mental well-being. Consulting a healthcare professional can help you address specific concerns and develop a comprehensive approach to improve your overall health.

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