What your BMI can tell you

One of the measurements doctors have on file for each patient is BMI (Body Mass Index). BMI is a very useful tool that allows the doctor to determine whether there is a good ratio between weight and height and if there is optimal body fat.

This is important to doctors because BMI can be used to indicate whether there is an increased risk of certain illnesses and diseases. For instance, too high (over 25) and the risk of cardiovascular disease becomes more likely. So does high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, gallbladder disease and osteoarthritis.

When collated with information about waist circumference, the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart conditions are highlighted, especially if most of the fat has accumulated around the abdomen. Good waist measurements are considered to be under 94cm for men and 80cm for women. Over this measurement and hidden fat around organs associated with medical conditions is highly probable.

Underweight, at a BMI level below 18.5, is an indicator of malnutrition and increases the risks of osteoporosis and immune function collapse, so there is a greater risk of cancer developing and respiratory and gastrointestinal disease.

Unfortunately, BMI is just an estimate of risk and it cannot be used for everyone. For some people, the BMI would be wildly inaccurate, such as for children and young adults under 18, who are still growing, and pregnant ladies, who only have expanded waistlines temporarily. Athletes, for example, have a higher ratio of lean muscle to fat.

For everyone else though, knowing the BMI allows preventative action to be taken to address the risk of chronic medical conditions. If it is not in the optimal range between 18.5 and 24.99, then the doctor can suggest changes that can be taken to bring it back into line. Lifestyle changes, including a balanced diet and regular exercise, have proven to be very effective and easy to incorporate into daily life.

If you’re concerned about your BMI, then contact the team at Encompass Medical Centre today.

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