Body mass index (BMI) measures a person’s body fat based on specific criteria: height and weight. Knowing your BMI keeps you up-to-date on whether or not you are in danger of developing certain health conditions, such as heart disease.
Your BMI is expressed as a percentage and will indicate if you are considered underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese. Any percentage below 18.5 is thought to be underweight while any percentage between 18.5 and 24.9 is normal weight. Furthermore, if your BMI is anywhere between 25.0 and 29.9 it is considered overweight and a percentage of 30.0 or higher is categorized as obese.
Calculating your BMI is simple. You can use the computer; there are numerous websites where you are able to fill in the information and it will calculate it for you. There is also the do-it-yourself option. One way you can do this is by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared.
Why don’t we do an example?
Let’s say a person is 160 pounds (72.57kg) and 5 feet tall (1.52m). You are going to divide 72.57kg by 1.52m, but first we have to multiply 1.52m by itself: 2.31m2. In the end, 72.57kg divided by 2.31m2 is 31.43. With a BMI of 31.43, this person would be considered obese.
Waist to hip ratio is a bit different than BMI, but it is supposed to tell you the same thing: your risk of certain health issues. However, the data required is different as well as the calculation itself. In order to decipher your waist to hip ratio, you will need to know your waist and hip measurements. Then you divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement and, like BMI, your result will be a percentage.
Your gender plays a role as well. If you are a man, you would be considered at low risk if you have a waist to hip ratio of .95 or less and at moderate risk between .96-1.0. A waist to hip ratio above 1.0 is thought to be high risk. Meanwhile, if you are a woman, less than .80 is low risk, .81 to .85 is moderate risk and above .85 is high risk.
Maybe doing another example will clear up any questions.
If you are a woman and your waist measurement is 30in. while your hip measurement is 40in., you would have to divide 30in. by 40in. In this case, your waist to hip ratio is .75, which makes you at low risk. The idea is that having more weight around your waist than your hips is not healthy.
It has been argued that waist to hip ratio is more accurate than BMI. However, both have their limitations. For instance, someone who has a lot of muscle mass may have a high BMI, but not be overweight. Remember, muscle weighs more than fat. A comparable issue can arise with waist to hip ratio as well. Still, both are considered good guidelines and similar suggestions are given to people with a high BMI or waist to hip ratio: eat healthy and exercise.
Be sure to speak with your CompleteCare cardiologist to learn more about waist to hip ratio and heart disease vs. BMI.
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