Body Mass Index (BMI)

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woman measuring her waist

The Body mass index (BMI) is a calculation of body fat, based on the weight  and height of a person. BMI was the work of a Belgian scientist, Adolphe Quetelet who invented the index in 1832. This index was named The Quetelet Index. It was renamed Body Mass Index in 1972. It is a fast and generalized measure of body fat, without actually measuring fat itself, all you need to know is your height and weight. The index does not take into account age, gender, ethnic factors and muscle mass, so if the index is telling you that you are overweight then you should also consider these factors before embarking on a diet. Common sense tells a person if he/she is overweight anyway, as the individual can see and sense excess fat on their body. BMI is normally used to track weight trends in populations, in general terms, and it is also a quick tool for a screening purposes.

 

Is BMI Useful For People On A Weight Loss Diet?

Somewhat, but not much. The index can tell you if you are in the healthy range or not, according to the BMI standard, but as it doesn’t take many factors into consideration, it really is a very general guide for a person who is unsure if weight loss is required and it could be used as some sort of target in a weight loss program.

 

An example Of BMI

According to BMI, a six foot male has a normal weight range of between 136lbs to 184lbs. At the low-end, 136lbs seems very low to me and I would have thought that 184lbs would be more at the lower end of the scale but I suppose that people in 1832, when the BMI was first developed, weighed less in general.

CLICK HERE for a BMI calculator.

 

So, What About BMI And Diets?

My personal view is that a person shouldn’t worry too much if he/she is several  points above the normal range, but I would suggest that to be less than the low on the normal range is probably troubling and you should eat more.

 

Quick Fact

Have you ever heard a British person quote their weight in stones, such as “I weigh 10 stone”?. The stone is an old English Imperial measurement and it is still in use today, albeit sort of undercover, because the European Union demands that member States use the metric system.

1 Stone (st) = 14lbs, so someone who has a weight of 10st weighs 140lbs. The metric equivalent to 1 stone is 6.35029318 kg.

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