The BMI formula

November 12, 2012

The BMI formula

The BMI formula as a tool for measuring whether or not someone is of a healthy weight has been around for hundreds of years and is still today considered an effective tool.

What is the BMI

BMI stands for body mass index and has been used since the early 1800’s to determine whether an individual is of health weight, underweight or over weight. Using a BMI formula and chart allows doctors to check that their patients fall into the healthy weight range by comparing your height to your weight. Although weight gain as well as weight loss is usually fairly obvious to the individual themselves, the BMI is still relied upon by doctors and insurance companies as it is considered to be a medically accurate assessment of healthy weight.

BMI and health insurance

Individuals with a high BMI are considered to be either overweight or obese depending on exactly how far above the healthy weight range they fall. Not only does a high BMI suggest the person is over weight but it also suggest that they are at a greater risk of certain medical conditions. It is for this reason that health insurance companies will often require the individuals BMI in order to determine whether or not they should be considered high risk. Those who are will find it harder to get insured or will notice that their premiums are considerably higher. Life insurance can be particularly difficult. Many people find this to be an inaccurate method to assess someone’s health risk, as there are a number of factors that the BMI formula does not take into consideration.

How to calculate BMI

The only factors that the BMI takes into account are the individuals weight and their height. One on the plus side, that makes the BMI formula very simple to use but on the negative side it leads to claims that other important factors are not considered. BMI is calculated by dividing your weight by your height squared using kilograms and meters. For example for an individual with a weight of 80 kilograms and a height of 1.7 metres the maths would look like this:



This BMI formula can be used to accurately assess whether or not a person of healthy weight in the case of most people. However there are certain individuals for whom the MBI formula may not be accurate due to additional factors that are not taken into consideration. For example in the case of a body builder who has a significantly greater muscle mass than most people. The results if a body builder used the standard BMI formula would suggest that he or she is significantly over weight when in fact they are most likely very healthy. Therefore whilst using the BMI formula can be a good way to assess your overall health, it is important that is used along with some common sense.


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