The Importance of BMI for Women

November 12, 2012

The Importance of BMI for Women

BMI is short for Body Mass Index. Doctors look at BMI for women to determine how much fat they have in their bodies as opposed to muscle or other bodily substances. A woman may need to lose weight, but the weight that’s lost should be fat. During starvation or fad diets, the body first gets rid of excess fluid and then begins to waste away at the muscles before diving into fat deposits.

By using a woman’s height and weight, a doctor or nutritionist can determine her BMI or BMI range that she falls into. Formulas used to determine BMI for women are the same as for men. Some overall BMI for women charts are available on the Internet for free, but a woman needs to weigh at least 91 pounds in order to find her BMI on one of these charts. Women that weigh less than 91 pounds may need to use BMI charts for children or teenagers.

BMI Calculation

If Internet BMI for women charts is unavailable, then a patient can figure out her own BMI with a calculator and a scale. After weighing herself and determining how tall she is in inches, she can begin with this formula:

Your weight x 703 / The square root of your height in inches.

So you would need to first convert your height to inches. Let’s say you are five foot ten inches tall and weigh 188 pounds. One foot equals 12 inches. Multiply 5 x 12 to get 60. That’s how many inches are in five feet. Now add the remaining 10 inches to get 70.

Now you need to determine the square root of 70. Most calculators contain a square root symbol, which appears like a check mark with a long line at the top. Just punch in 70 and hit the square root symbol. The square root of 70 is 8.3666002. To simplify matters, round up this square root so that it is 8.37.

Now do the first part of the BMI for women formula, your weight multiplied by 703. Divide the resulting number by 8.37. So, a woman with a height of 5 foot 10 inches and a weight of 188 pounds has a BMI of 27.

What the Numbers Say

27 is not a good number for a woman. Such a woman is overweight. If the number was 30 or more, then she would be officially obese. Overweight women have a BMI of 25 to 29.9. Underweight women have a BMI of less than 18.5.

The goal is to get to a BMI range of 18.5 to 24.9. This is the ideal BMI for women range, providing the woman is over 91 pounds. But do you need to go to the low end of the range or is it safe for you to go to the high end of the range? Your doctor and your individual health will help determine that. Many doctors want their women patients over 30 to be on the low end of the scale to compensate for the slower metabolism that happens during the aging process.

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