5 Things You Should Know About Your BMI

Anyone who’s tried to lose weight before knows a thing or two about BMI. Doctors use it to get a snapshot of your health status, and it’s a great tool for measuring weight-loss progress. But some people either rely too heavily on this one marker or discount it completely — Dr. Robert Snow of Snow Bariatric Center wants you to know these five important things about your BMI. 

1. It’s not perfect, but it’s helpful for most

BMI has been around as a health measure since the early 1800s, though the formula has evolved since then. Some experts argue that BMI is too simple, that it doesn’t offer enough insight into whether someone’s body is truly healthy or not. For instance, a healthy bodybuilder might have a BMI that indicates obesity because muscle is very dense. 

So yes, BMI is simple, but it acts mainly as a first-level analysis of health. It offers a quick look at your weight relative to your height and allows you and your doctor to decide whether further analysis, such as a complete physical exam or another measurement (such as waist-to-hip ratio), is necessary. Additionally, BMI provides a quick, easy way to measure weight-loss progress when that is the main goal. 

2. It can help assess your risk of diseases

A high BMI has been linked to several diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, coronary artery disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, arthritis, sleep apnea, and more. It’s also been linked to all-cause mortality (death). Having your BMI taken lets your doctor know important information about your risk of these diseases and to educate you on treatment options and crucial lifestyle changes. 

3. Having a normal BMI is important to your health

On the flip side of the above point, a normal BMI (18.5 to 24.9) points toward good health. Of course, BMI doesn’t tell all, but if yours falls into the normal range, there’s a good chance that the rest of your health markers — such as blood pressure, cholesterol, and inflammation — are also healthy and normal. 

4. Decreasing just a little bit can pose significant improvements

Although it might sound daunting to reduce your BMI, know that losing just five to 10 percent of your current body weight can result in significant health improvements. So, if you currently weigh 200 pounds and lose 10 pounds (5 percent of 200), you could experience reduced cholesterol, lowered blood pressure, decreased snoring at night, and many more improvements.

5. There’s more to weight loss than BMI

Having a starting point (your current BMI) and an endpoint (your goal BMI) is important for successful weight loss, no doubt. But zeroing in and developing tunnel vision over the numbers only presents the opportunity for a rebound when you finally reach your goal BMI.

As you’re working toward your weight-loss goal, you should focus on the underlying habits and behaviors behind your progress. For example, if you made it a point to hit the gym right after work, you should keep up with that routine even after hitting your goal weight. This is especially true for patients who had weight-loss surgery. Surgery isn’t a magic cure for obesity, rather, think of it as a jumpstart to your long-term weight-loss journey. 

To learn more about weight loss, BMI, and bariatric procedures, schedule a consultation appointment with Dr. Snow. Call one of our Fort Worth, Texas-area locations or request your appointment online

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