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Body Mass Index (BMI)

What is BMI?

Body mass index or “BMI” is a number that shows body weight adjusted for height. It is a mathematical formula that correlates somewhat with body fat. BMI is a better predictor of disease risk than body weight alone. If your BMI is high, you may have an increased risk of developing certain diseases.

Exceptions to BMI

BMI is a better predictor of disease than body weight alone. However, there are certain people who should not use BMI as the basis for estimating body fat content: competitive athletes and body builders, whose BMI is high due to a relatively larger amount of muscle, and women who are pregnant or lactating. Nor is it intended for use in growing children or in frail and sedentary elderly individuals.

BMI Risk Table

The term “morbid” means “diseased” or “pertaining to disease”. Obesity becomes “morbid” when it reaches a point of significantly increasing the risk of one or more obesity-related health conditions or serious diseases (also known as “co-morbidities”) that result in significant physical disability or even death. Certain levels of BMI are associated with an increased risk of developing certain diseases, including: hypertension, cardiovascular disease, dyslipidemia, diabetes, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, and female infertility.

BMI Range Health Risk Based Solely on BMI Risk Adjusted
19-24 Minimal Low
25-26 Minimal Moderate
27-29 Moderate High
30-34 High Very High
35-39 Very High Extremely High
40+ Extremely High Extremely High

Risk adjusted for the presence of co-morbid conditions and/or other risk factors.

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