You probably know that being overweight leads to medical issues and self-esteem problems. However, it’s not just the number on the scale that tells you you’re at risk for developing problems down the road — your body mass index (BMI) plays a part as well. So, how do you know what your ideal BMI is?
At Snow Bariatric Center, our team is here to help you live a healthier life by discussing weight loss options with you. Leading our team is Dr. Robert Snow, who helps you decide on a weight loss plan that’s right for you. He also helps you understand your BMI and how you can get to a healthy weight to decrease your chances of medical problems.
What is body mass index?
Your body is made up of water, fat, and muscle, among other things. So, how do you know what amount of your weight is made up of body fat? There is a simple solution called body mass index. Your BMI is a calculation of your body fat using your weight and height.
However, BMI isn’t an exact measurement of your body fat, it’s just an estimated amount related to how tall you are and how much you weigh. For example, if your BMI is on the high end, it means you have too much body fat for your height, while a very low BMI is low means you don’t have enough fat.
Both high and low BMI can have negative effects on your health, and understanding these effects helps you understand your current and ideal BMI.
How BMI affects your health
A high BMI is usually an indication that you’re overweight, which puts you at risk for a lot of chronic medical problems. However, BMI isn’t the only indication that you’ll have problems down the road; other indications like the size of your waist and your body shape have a lot to do with health issues as well.
If you’re significantly overweight, your chance of developing a chronic condition like diabetes is much higher than someone whose BMI is normal. Other health problems associated with a high BMI include:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Sleep apnea
Excess weight is also linked to certain types of cancer. Although BMI isn’t the only factor in your risk of these chronic diseases, it plays a part. Fortunately, you can change this aspect of your risk by shedding some excess weight to lower your numbers.
Where do your numbers fall?
To calculate your BMI, you need to know your exact height and your weight. You’ll also need to know the formula used to determine your number: Multiply your weight by 703 and divide it by your height in inches squared, and you have your BMI.
If this seems too confusing, there are many online BMI calculators that only require you to plug in your weight and height. Once you figure out your number, what does it mean? There are four categories in the BMI scale:
- Underweight: BMI of 18.5 or below
- Normal: BMI 18.5 to below 25
- Overweight: BMI 25 to under 30
- Obese: BMI 30 or more
Obesity is further divided into subcategories that range from class I to class III. Class III obesity is considered severe, meaning health problems are almost inevitable. However, recognizing that you’re overweight and need help is the first step in combating obesity.
At our facility, Dr. Snow discusses your weight loss options, depending on the severity of your BMI and body fat. If you’ve tried diets and exercise before without results, Dr. Snow suggests either minimally invasive weight loss options or surgery, depending on your health and other factors.
If you're concerned about your BMI and want to get serious about losing weight, schedule a consultation with Dr. Snow today by calling one of our convenient offices in Texas. You can also request an appointment online using our booking tool.