Body Mass Index: The Importance Of Knowing Your Number

There are 3 basic ways to determine if you need to lose weight.

1) Stand naked in front of a mirror

2) Get a body fat test, preferably a hydrostatic or “underwater weighing” one; otherwise a 10 pinch caliper method

3) Determine your Body Mass Index: simply divide your body weight in kilograms with your height in meters squared

Click here, or right-click and choose Save Target As to download this Excel spreadsheet to easily determine your BMI. I’ve created 2 formulas, imperial and metric.

I feel the BMI needs to be adjusted for fit muscular people.

Here is a good article that goes into detail the importnace of knowing your BMI.

Weight loss is, more than anything else in our society, a huge numbers game. You have to lose this many pounds in this many weeks. Your waist has to be this many inches. Your percentage of body fat should only be this much. When you take into consideration all the numbers, facts and figures you are supposed to keep up with, it is no wonder that you have so many problems losing weight.

However, body mass index is one very good way to know where you are and where you need to go with your diet. With all of these concerns about numbers, though, there is one that doctors seem to think matters more than any other your body mass index.

Body mass index is a relatively new term on the American diet scene. It has, though, been around for sometime. Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet who lived from 1796 to 1854 created the idea of the body mass index. This Belgian mathematician was famous both in his time and ours for implementing systems of numbers, which could actually help our lives. It was originally called the Quetelet Index. Doctors and researchers now suggest that this is the best way to calculate obesity and overweight numbers in the most accurate fashion.

The B M I, though, is a bit confusing to most people, because for many, it seems like one more number that they must pay attention to. Essentially, a persons Body mass index is a ratio. It takes into account both the height and the weight of an individual. This tells doctors and researchers how much fat the person’s body carries inside.

Calculating your B M I is relatively easy process. Simply divide your body weight in kilograms with your height in meters squared. While this calculation in and of itself may be quite difficult, you can obtain its chart from your doctor or on the internet at many different weight loss sites. It is really a much more useful statistic than most of those involved in the process of weight loss. It can tell you about your risk factors in terms of your current health, thereby helping you to decide the degree of healthy you might face in your future years.

In order to be considered healthy by the scientific community, your B M I must fall between 18.5 and 25. Should your BMI fall higher than 25, your will fall into the category of overweight. If you have more than 30, you will be considered obese. If your Body Mass Index is more than 40, you fall into the extremely obese category, putting you at much higher health risks than most.

A high body mass index at various times during your life means different things for men and women. Johns Hopkins conducted some fairly extensive research into the consequences of higher BMI results at different times during ones life. For a man, a high B M I during the ages of twenty to twenty nine often lead to arthritis in the knees as age progresses. For women, a higher BMI has been linked to more serious complications like breast cancer in later life. Increasingly, your BMI is one of the most important numbers your doctor will calculate during your yearly checkup.

He or she will suggest the how much you should weigh for your height and discuss some of the possible consequences of your actions should you choose to ignore your BMI. It is not just for adults either. More and more pediatricians are looking at this to determine whether children are overweight for their ages, helping them to diagnose possible health problems before they begin.

The Body Mass Index can vary from country to country. Moreover, there are a few problems with it, as it can not account for muscle mass. Someone with a large amount of muscle mass, like a body builder, will be overweight. For most, though, the BMI is an excellent measurement of where you should be in your weight loss practices.

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Jimson Lee

Jimson Lee

Coach & Founder at
I am a Masters Athlete and Coach currently based in London UK. My other projects include the Bud Winter Foundation, writer for the IAAF New Studies in Athletics Journal (NSA) and a member of the Track & Field Writers of America.
Jimson Lee
Jimson Lee
Jimson Lee
  • Here’s the problem with BMI. Some people that are abnormally large will be considered as “fat” when in reality, they’re actually fit, but they’re heavier because of the muscle that they have on their body. So as BMI is important to be aware of, people should be aware that it has it’s faults.