Why Your BMI Matters
Most people can step on the bathroom scale and quickly decide if they’re happy with their weight. But there’s actually a better way to gauge if your weight is within a healthy range: body mass index (BMI). This is a measure of your body fat based on your height and weight. You and your doctor can determine if you need to lose or gain weight based on your height.
Being overweight can lead to serious health problems, such as:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Sleep apnea
- Type 2 diabetes
Being underweight is also a concern. For adults over 65, being underweight increases the risk of death more than being overweight, according to a 2014 study by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. It can lead to health issues like:
- Vitamin deficiencies or anemia
- Weak or broken bones from too little vitamin D and calcium
- Increased complications from surgery
Your doctor can check your BMI, but you can also calculate it yourself. Follow these easy steps:
- Find out what your body weight is in pounds.
- Multiply your body weight in pounds by 703.
- Divide the answer by your height in inches.
- Divide that answer by your height in inches again.
You can also determine your BMI by filling out this online form from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
Adults over the age of 65 should aim for a BMI between 25 and 27, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. If you’re over 65, a slightly higher BMI may help keep your bones strong.
Although your BMI can help predict your risk for future health problems, it’s not the only sign of health. Your blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol, combined with BMI, help measure how healthy you are. Also, your weight can vary, depending on medications you’re taking or if you’re on a doctor-recommended diet. Ask your physician what weight is right for you.
If your BMI is too high or too low, consider talking to a nutritionist. They can help you adjust your diet to gain or lose weight. They can also help you set goals and advise you about helpful vitamins and supplements.
Y0011_ 97943_C 0919 C: 09/2019
Filed under: Medicare