What is BMI (body mass index)

What does BMI stand for?

BMI stands for Body Mass Index.

Definition of BMI

BMI is a measure of relative size of an individual based on his body mass and height.

BMI is defined as body mass of a person divied by their height’s square (weight / (height)2

Units of BMI

The universal units of BMI as per the formula are: kg/m2

Other names for BMI

BMI or body mass index is also called Quetelet index.

Who devised BMI

Adolphe Quetlet devised BMI between 1830 and 1850 when he was developing his course called “social physics”.

what is body mass index

Why is BMI used

BMI is not a strict criteria, however it’s used to evaluate the weight category of the individual. It can be:

  • very severely underweight (BMI less than 15)
  • severely underweight (BMI 15 to 16)
  • underweight (BMI 16 to 18.5)
  • normal weight (BMI 18.5 to 25)
  • over weight (BMI 25 to 30)
  • Moderately obese / Obese Class 1 (BMI 30 to 35)
  • Severely Obese / Obese Class 2 (BMI 35 to 40)
  • Very severely obese / Obese Class 3 (BMI above 40)

BMI values vary depending upon the ethnicity, country and profession of the people.

Also BMI values are different for males and females and variable with age too.

BMI relation to health and diseases

BMI values are found to be related to disease and death association with the body weight. Obese and overweight individuals are at higher risk for various disease including:

  • Coronary heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Hypertension
  • Cholecystitis
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Dyslipidemia
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Sleep apnea and respiratory issues
  • Various cancers

Although BMI is not a strict rule but it’s important to keep the body weight in healthy weight range. Remember that there is also a difference between fit and slim. A person with normal BMI may be at higher risk of diseases than a slightly overweight individual with an active life style. But again, a normal BMI individual with active life style might be healthier than an overweight one with active life style therefore always try for weight loss when you’re in overweight category.

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