Body Mass Index
Calculating your Body Mass Index
Your Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on height and weight. BMI applies to both men and women and is often used as a screening tool to identify possible weight problems for adults. BMI is calculated using a simple formula. To accurately calculate your BMI, you may want to weigh yourself over the course of a few days and use the average in your calculations.
Understanding your BMI results
While these interpretations are generally accurate for most people, doctors warn that there are a few things that can skew the results:
- If you are an athlete you probably have a much higher muscle mass than the average person. Not only is muscle left unaccounted for in the formula, but it actually weighs more than fat. Regardless of your fat to muscle ratio, the BMI formula reads all weight as though it were made from average ratio of muscle to fat.
- BMI is not applicable to pregnant women
- BMI for children under the age of 18 is calculated differently using gender specific charts
- BMI is not applicable for persons over the age of 60 years
How to lower your BMI
To lower your BMI, you must focus on a combination of healthy eating and exercise. If you are mainly concerned about your BMI, and not about the fat-to-muscle ratio in your body, then you should focus on your eating habits and on doing exercises that help you lose fat without increasing your muscle mass. Here are some eating habits that will help you lower your BMI:
- Increase your fibre intake. This will help regulate your body’s systems and will actually give you more energy to exercise.
- Eat four to five small meals each day rather than three large meals in a day. This helps to reduce cravings so you eat less. If you eat five small meals that are high in fibre you are going to feel full faster and stay full longer.
- Drinking a large glass of water will fill your stomach for a time and can help you overcome the craving to eat at an undesignated time.
- Always keep a healthy snack on hand, for example fruits, grains and nuts.
- Drink 8 to 10 cups of water every day.
- Reduce your intake of sweets, soft drinks and alcohol.