The Importance of Body Mass Index

Your body mass index (BMI) is an important number for you to know. It can help predict potential health issues. Your BMI is easy to compute if you know your height and weight. There are published tables that allow you to do the math yourself, but the easiest way to learn your BMI is to enter those numbers into a BMI calculator available on many websites committed to fitness.

BMI is broken down into four main categories: underweight, normal weight, overweight and obese. For example, a man who is exactly six feet tall would be considered underweight at 135 pounds, normal weight at 175 pounds, overweight at 190 pounds, and obese at 225 pounds.

There are limits to the effectiveness of these measures. BMI calculations tend to overestimate body fat in athletes or those with a muscular build, and they tend to underestimate body fat in older people who have lost muscle. Another way to measure with more precision is to factor in your waist circumference. Of course the numbers vary with height, but in general, men with a waist size of over 40 inches and women with a waist size over 35 inches are at a greater risk for health issues associated with obesity.

Except for name-calling purposes, what difference does it make if you are obese rather than merely overweight? According to medical experts, it matters a great deal. Obesity puts you at higher risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

The good news is that even a relatively small weight loss of five to ten percent of your body weight can dramatically reduce your health risk. It might seem like a small gain to graduate from obese to merely overweight, but in medical terms that is a significant change.

Are you ready for a real and lasting change? Contact a weight loss clinic to see if you are a candidate for bariatric surgery. On the Space Coast, Dr. Diego Velarde at the Advanced Surgical and Weight Loss Institute in Merritt Island has over ten years of clinical practice and specializes in bariatric surgery. Dr. Velarde performs minimally invasive robotic surgery using the da Vinci Surgical Robot which allows an increased range of motion and more precise movements.