BMI is a formula for assessing human body fat based on the weight and height of an individual. It is also a standard measure of obesity across the world.
History of BMI.
The BMI was originally the Quetelat Index. Developed between 1830 and 1850 by a Belgian scientist called Adolphe Quetelat. It was in 1972 when body mass index was used for the first. Researchers who decided that body mass index was the best way to measure body fat percentage among height and weight ratios.
Calculating BMI and the Meaning of Results.
The body mass index is defined as individual body mass divided by the square of the height. The body mass index is calculated with height and weight measurements, using simple maths (Weight in Kg / (Height in M x Height in M)), or a BMI table. When body mass index is calculated in children, it is usually compared with BMI values from other children who are the same sex and age.
A BMI of 18.5 or below suggests that an individual is underweight and 18.5 to 25 is the normal weight range. Those with a body mass index of over 25 are overweight, with obese individuals being categorised as those with a body mass index of over 30. There is an additional category of morbidly obese individuals who have a body mass index or above 40.The higher the body mass index in an individual, the higher the risk of developing diseases or disorders that arise with obesity, such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and strokes. In 2010, almost 63% of adults in England were overweight or obese. Those who are classed as overweight based on their BMI are more likely to be declined for life insurance than those who are fit and active, as they are seen as less of a risk to the insurance providers offering the life cover.
Many medical and health professionals rely on BMI values during diagnosis. Unfortunately, body mass index is a tool to categorise inactive individuals with an average body composition, rather than a reliable measurement for medical diagnoses.
One of the main problems with the body mass index is that is does not allow for physical differences. Those who are muscular will often show as overweight on the body mass index scale, because muscle weighs more than fat. Taller people who are physically active will often be categorised as overweight and likewise, smaller people who are overweight will often fall within a normal weight range. body mass index is also unsuitable for using with the very young, the very old and for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding. It also fails to take into account actual body fat content, which is a key factor in determining disease risk.
Other types of measurements used in health assessments include waist circumference. Those who carry additional fat at the waist instead of the hips have a higher risk of developing diabetes or heart disease. Many professionals also now measure body fat percentage, to obtain the percentage of fat in the body, when compared with muscle, bone and internal organs. However, BMI is still be a very useful tool for both health and fitness purposes and can be used to monitor the potential risk for both obesity and low weight in most individuals.