Body Mass Index

by Sharon Hopkins

BMI stands for Body Mass Index. It is a numerical calculation used as a measure of a person’s health. It is a simple formula that uses a person’s weight and height and calculates the correct weight of the person. The weight of the individual can fall in the underweight, normal, overweight and obese categories based on this test. The BMI test does not measure body fat and is slightly flawed when one considers that some people may have heavier bones. It also does not consider the fact that certain types of sports people have a low or high body mass based on the requirements of their profession and, while their BMI may not be in the normal range, they may be extremely healthy. BMI is a simple tool that could be used to estimate an individual’s body fat content. While it is not completely accurate, it is widely used because of its ease of measurement.

Body Mass Index calculations are a useful guide for a person seeking to improve his or her body structure. As explained above, it could indicate the category into which the person falls and therefore help in achieving a normal BMI  depending on their situation. It is especially useful because some people may not be aware of what weight is normal for them and thus be worried and stressed about such situations. BMI calculations are also used to sample the population of a particular area. This is useful when administrators wish to judge the health of the people living in a given area and while the measurement is simplistic, it does give a general idea of the population that has been sampled.

BMI is based on a simple formula which calculates the weight of a person against the person’s height. Being such a simplistic measurement, it does have its shortcomings. The first problem with using BMI is the fact that it does not account for the sex of the individual. In general, a well exercised man will have more muscle mass than a well exercised woman but the BMI does not take any of this into account. Another drawback of the system is a complete ignorance of the subject’s age. At different stages of development, an individual’s body is likely to be different. An example of this is clear when you compare a young adult with an aged person. The elderly person may be completely healthy but the makeup of his or her body is significantly different to that of the young adult.

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