Is Body Mass Index (BMI) the Best Measure?

The recent Biggest Loser finale raised a few interesting questions about using body mass index (BMI) to evaluate a healthy weight.  During the final episode of the popular weight loss show, Rachel Frederickson, a Minnesota native, won the grand prize by slimming down from 260lbs to 105lbs.  Some say that her weight loss went to far because her BMI is now estimated to be below healthy standards.

What is BMI?

Body mass index is a way of estimating how your weight affects your risk for certain medical conditions.  It is not an absolute measure of fat or of your general health.  You can calculate your BMI with this formula:

BMI formula:  weight (lb) / [height (in)]2 x 703

A BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered normal.  A BMI between 25 and 29.9 falls into the overweight category and a number over 30 is considered obese.  If your BMI falls in the overweight or obese categories your weight may put you at higher risk for chronic health conditions including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea or stroke.

What Does BMI Mean?

If your body mass index falls outside the healthy range it is simply an opportunity for you to talk to your doctor about ways in which you can lose or gain weight to improve your health.  Your body mass index is changeable! Use the score as an opportunity to talk to your provider about a healthy diet and exercise program.

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