What does my BMI mean anyways?

Body mass index, or BMI, is a common health screening tool that an be used to classify individuals into different categories based on their height and weight. To calculate, it divides your weight by height using the following formula: BMI = kg/m2. BMI is used to help identify elevated risk for various health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol. Higher BMI’s have been found to be associated with a higher risk of these health outcomes.

While the BMI is a beneficial screening tool, it has several caveats. First, BMI does not measure body fat or body composition. As such, individuals who have a high amount of muscle mass might have a higher BMI classifying them as overweight or even obese. Second, BMI does not account for various demographics such as age, sex, or ethnicity. Another important note about the BMI is that an individual can be categorized as obese, according to BMI standards, but still be “metabolically healthy”. In other words, individuals who meet the recommended guidelines for physical activity and adhere to a healthy lifestyle can still reap the health benefits even if they are not in the healthy BMI range.

How do I calculate my BMI? Start by finding your height on the left, then scanning to the right until you reach your approximate weight. Once you find it, scan upwards to reach your BMI and category on the top.

How do I calculate my BMI? Start by finding your height on the left, then scanning to the right until you reach your approximate weight. Once you find it, scan upwards to reach your BMI and category on the top.

For individuals looking to improve their BMI, it is never too late to begin living a healthier lifestyle. Minor changes such as eating healthier and exercising a little bit each day can make improvements on your overall health and BMI. It is recommended you start small, such as walking for 30 minutes per week or limiting your sitting time. Incorporate positive behavioral interventions like goal setting. Whatever your motivation for living a healthier life, the Healthy Lifestyle Center can help by providing healthy lifestyle consultations specific to exercise, nutrition, and goal setting. We can assist in providing support for maintaining motivation and adherence to living a healthier life.

By Matt Lewandowski

Sources: Measuring BMI for adults, children, and teens. Yvette Brazier, Medical News Today, November 8, 2018; Metabolically healthy obesity: All you need to know.Joseph Nordqvist, Medical News Today, April 18, 2017; BMI: What’s Your Number?HMR Weight Management Services, September 17, 2018.

Adopting Healthy Lifestyle Behaviors can Increase Life Expectancy

Healthy lifestyle behaviors have been found to increase the life expectancy of those who adopt them.  Specifically, adopting the following five behaviors mid-life (age 50) can potentially add up to 10 years onto your life:  healthy diet, maintaining healthy weight, do not smoke, drinking alcohol in moderation, and regular exercise.  Researchers found that each single lifestyle behavior adopted will help the individual live longer and better.

Life expectancy of males/females with zero healthy lifestyle factors compared to those with all five healthy lifestyle factors.

Life expectancy of males/females with zero healthy lifestyle factors compared to those with all five healthy lifestyle factors.

A healthy diet, one of the lifestyle behaviors, can be defined as one that is high quality.  Specifically, individuals are encouraged to reduce added sugar, refined grains, and highly processed foods.  A healthy diet also includes increasing the intake of fruits and vegetables. Researchers emphasized the lifestyle behavior of maintaining a healthy weight, specifically a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9.  They explain that a healthy diet and regular exercise can help maintain a healthy weight. Adopting the lifestyle behavior of not smoking can have several health benefits for the individual including reduced risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease, improved lung function, and reduced risk of lung, mouth, and throat cancers.  Researchers encourage individuals to drink alcohol in moderation, which is defined as 2 glasses of wine per day for males and 1 glass of wine per day for females.  A healthy lifestyle behavior of exercising regularly in encouraged.  This includes at least 30 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity, which might include walking, jogging, biking, or other exercise activities.

Researchers have identified these five healthy lifestyle behaviors as important for living a longer and better life.  Specifically, adopting these five behaviors during mid-life (age 50) can potentially add up to 10 years onto your life expectancy.  Each single behavior adopted will have positive effects on an individual’s health and can help add years onto their life.  Additionally, it is never too late to adopt healthy lifestyle behaviors.  Adopting these behaviors mid-life was found to increase life expectancy.  The Healthy Lifestyle Center can help by providing education on these various behaviors and how they can be incorporated into an individual’s life.  We can assist by collaborating to identify health goals and by providing continued support for your health.

By Matt Lewandowski

 

Sources: Li et al. (2018). Impact of Healthy Lifestyle Factors on Life Expectancies in the US Population. Circulation, 137(23); Gardner, C., Trepanowski, J., & Del GobboL., et al. (2018). Effects of Low-Fat vs. Low-Carbohydrate Diet on 12-Month Weight Loss in Overweight Adults and the Association with Genotype Pattern or Insulin Secretion. JAMA, 319(7), 667-679; Fact Sheet About Healthy Benefits of Smoking Cessation. World Healthy Organization. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/tobacco/quitting/benefits/en/; Start Active, Stay Active. UK Chief Medical Officers’ Guidelines 2011