Understanding Your BMI

Body Mass index (BMI) is a measurement often used to determine an individuals overall health. BMI is determined by dividing a person’s weight (in kilograms) by their height (in meters) squared. For example, if I’m 5′ 10″ and weigh 175 lbs, this would be 79.4 kilograms and 1.78 meters. If I plugged these numbers into the equation, it would look like this:

BMI isn’t the perfect screening tool because it does not actually measure body fat or actual health- this information requires further assessment by a healthcare provider. Individuals with extra muscle mass such as athletes may be perfectly healthy, but have a high BMI because muscle is not accounted for. From the example above, a BMI of 25.06 would be considered overweight, but there are other factors to consider. A 5′ 10″ individual could weigh 175 lbs with 30% body fat or weigh the same 175 lbs and have 10% body fat. Two individuals with very different health statuses, but the same BMI.

bmiinfographic.jpg
Infographic from everydayhealth.com

Overweight or obese individuals are at increased risk for high blood pressure (hypertension), high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, sleep apnea, depression, and some cancers (endometrial, breast, colon, liver).

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/effects/index.html
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About Ryan Barnes, BSN, RN, PCCN

Cardiac Surgery RN from Baltimore, DNP student, and Army nurse.

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