Body Mass Index

by Tina Alexander

Obesity is one of the most serious health problems of our time.  Are you in the danger zone?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that as a nation, we spend nearly 75 billion dollars a year treating diseases related to weight.  People need to learn their Body Mass Index, or B.M.I., it's an indication of whether you are at a healthy weight.

Body Mass Index is a calculated number and it takes into account a person's height and weight. It's been linked statistically very closely with how much body fat you carry and also what kind of a risk you have for several diseases, including cancer.

The Body Mass Index is calculated by taking your weight and dividing it by your height.  The actual formula is: take your current weight...multiply it by 704.5...divide that by your height squared.  If your number is 25 to 29.9, you are considered overweight.  If your number is 30 or higher, you are considered obese.

Health experts say "25 because that's where the increase in illness particularly in regard to cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, diabetes, begin to rise more steeply."

Want to know your B-M-I, without having to figure it out yourself?  Click here for a B-M-I calculator

One other note, dietitians we spoke with your number gives a good indication if you're overweight, but the number can be misleading because it does not take into consideration your overall size, just your height.  You should still consult with your doctor.