Body Mass Index (BMI)is a numerical expression of weight in kilograms and height in meters squared .i.e. BMI=weight/height.
After calculating BMI score determine the weight category such as
- Underweight=BMI less than 18.5
- Normal weight= BMI of 18.5 to 24.9
- Overweight= BMI of 25 to 29.9
- Obese= BMI of 30 or greater.
A high BMI can be a sign of high body fat leading to various types of diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, diabetes, etc. while low BMI is a sign of less fat content in the body.
A low BMI is also an indication of the compromised immune system leading to diseases such as anemia, bone loss, etc. BMI is an easy way to measure the body’s fat and weight.
BMI has its limits and it can make wrong estimations and assumptions in people such as athletes and other people who are muscular in size and shape.
It can underestimate the amount of body fat in older adults due to a lot of muscle mass. There are many other myths attached to BMI they are as follows
Myth #1. Low BMI Ensures You Are Healthy
It is often related that high BMI leads to diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart diseases, etc. but low BMI has its own problems which are infection prone immune system and other health-related issues.
Hence, having a low BMI doesn’t ensure a healthy body, it can lead to infection and compromised the immune system.
Moreover, thin people can carry visceral fat which is the main reason for diseases such as Type-II diabetes, heart problems, etc. So assuming low BMI can be healthy is wrong.
Myth #2: High BMI Increases Chances Of Heart Diseases
A higher BMI is associated with the risk of heart diseases, but this is not always the truth. It is the amount of body fat that is most associated with heart-related problems.
The study also reported that a higher BMI can be associated with an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes.
A study published in the BMJ found that a higher BMI is a weak risk factor for mortality from cardiovascular disease in South Asians. Also, having a normal BMI does not necessarily protect an individual from cardiac risk.
Myth #3: Eating Healthy And Regular Exercise Will Give Ideal BMI
A healthy diet and regular exercise are key factors in maintaining a healthy body. BMI does not make a distinction between lean muscle and body fat.
Also, muscle weighs more than fat hence someone who adds exercise and healthy eating to their routine life may look thin but have a higher BMI.
People who start working out and eating better may gain muscle mass and weigh more and those people may not suffer from any kind of health issues. It should be taken into consideration that people can be healthy irrespective of their body sizes.
Myth #4: You Are Healthy If Your BMI Is Between 15 & 29
A healthy weight range corresponds to a BMI between 18 and 24.9. But this doesn’t ensure great health. Our health status largely depends on age, gender, genes, lifestyle, diet, etc.
A smoker or a drinker can have normal BMI and still at risk of lung cancer, heart diseases, etc. So an ideal BMI cannot decide whether if a person is healthy or not.
Myth #5: BMI Is Good Measure Of Health
BMI reading doesn’t apply to all individuals especially someone with tall and athletic gait.
In terms of healthy BMI, many individuals who don’t fit in the window of ideal weight category.
Also, doctors or dietitians should not focus on the number on a scale. This can lead to many health issues that can go unnoticed. Going for regular checkups can help in detection of any type of disease.
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