Issue 18 - Feb 2006 |

Rose Meechan has lost nearly a hundred pounds. Of course exercise and diet helped her lose much of that weight. But Rose also credits a simple math formula --called the body mass index-- for helping her keep it off. Body Mass Index (BMI) has been around for decades. Experts say it's becoming more and more important in managing peoples' weight. "It's an easy thing for people to calculate, you don't have to know anything else except your height and your weight. It's an easy way to know if you're at risk for some disease" said Carlo Wolper St. Luke's Hospital. There are websites that can rapidly compute your BMI number but essentially, it's your weight in kilo-grams, divided by your height in meters squared. The result is your BMI. We know that the healthiest body weights are between 18.5 and 25, that's considered the ideal body mass index. You're considered overweight if your BMI is higher than 25. Over 30 you're considered obese. Here's why it's important: as your BMI rises, your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes increases. BMI is relatively accurate in both men and women. It has limitations. It may overestimate body fat in athletes and other muscular people. and it may underestimate fat in people who are old or chronically ill. It also doesn't measure family history, which can be a huge predictor of disease. You can calculate your BMI by dividing your weight in kilograms by the square of your height in meters (BMI=kg/m2) Try out an online BMI claculator here: Source:
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