Knowing one’s ideal weight and current weight is important. Being overweight or underweight may lead to various health issues. The center for disease prevention and control (CDC) prescribes two main screening tools to know the weight status concerning disease risk: Body Mass Index (BMI) and waist circumference. BMI and waist circumference, however, are not diagnostic tools for disease risks. Your ideal weight can vary according to your age, height, gender, fat distribution, and other factors. Thus, to know your weight status concerning disease risk you need to consult a trained healthcare provider. They will perform other health assessments to find out the disease risk and diagnose disease states.
BMI in adults: Body mass index or BMI is calculated by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by the square of their height in meters. Thus, if your weight is 50 kg and your height is 1.5 m, your BMI will be 22.2. You must know the accurate values of your weight and height to calculate your BMI. This can be done with the help of your healthcare provider. Based upon your BMI, you can find out if you are:
- Underweight: It means your BMI is less than 18.5
- In normal or healthy weight range: If your BMI is 18.5 to 24.9
- Overweight: If your BMI is 25.0 to 29.9
- Obese: If your BMI is 30.0 or more
|Body Condition||Average BMI Range|
|Underweight||Less than 18.5|
|Normal or Healthy Weight||18.5 to 24.9|
|Overweight||25.0 to 29.9|
|Obese||More than 30.0|
Thus, a higher BMI means the weight is more than what is considered healthy for a given height. Depending on the BMI, it may be described as overweight or obese. A BMI lower than 18.5 means the person’s weight is lower than what is considered healthy for their height is termed as underweight.
Waist circumference: This is another useful and easy method to estimate your weight status. Excessive fat in the abdominal area is associated with several health risks such as diabetes and heart diseases. Thus, measuring your waist size may help you know whether you have a higher risk of developing obesity-related health conditions. Thus:
- A man should have a waist circumference less than 40 inches
- A non-pregnant woman should have a waist circumference less than 35 inches
Here again, the values are only used for screening purposes. Waist circumference alone does not have a diagnostic value for weight-related disease risks.
How should I measure my waist size?
To accurately measure your waist circumference:
- Stand straight and place a measuring tape around the middle, just above your hip-bones
- The tape should be placed horizontally around your waist
- Place the tape snuggly around the waist, but not compressing your skin
- Measure your waist circumference right after you breathe out (exhale)
Is a BMI more than 30 dangerous?
A person with a BMI of more than 30 is classified as obese. Obesity can lead to various health conditions such as:
- Body pains
- Restricted physical functioning due to joint pains and back pains
- Low quality of life
- Psychological illness such as depression, anxiety, and other mental conditions
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Dyslipidemia (high LDL or bad cholesterol, low HDL or good cholesterol, or high levels of triglycerides)
- Type 2 diabetes
- Coronary heart disease
- Gallbladder disease such as gallstones
- Arthritis particularly osteoarthritis (damage or breakdown of cartilage and bone within a joint)
- Sleep apnea (a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep) and breathing problems
- Chronic inflammation
- Certain cancers such as cancer of the uterus, breast, colon, kidney, gallbladder and liver
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