Is Your BMI Destroying Your Health?
Many of us have our ups and downs, our troubled areas where we just can’t seem to get those extra pounds off. It can really be frustrating, can’t it? Well, those extra pounds can do far more than just frustrate you as they begin to take a toll on your overall health.
There is a multitude of BMI related risks that you should know about which we have listed below. As a matter of fact, recent obesity statistics show that the percentage of people struggling with obesity/high BMI is climbing.
What is Body Mass Index (BMI)?
Your body mass index (BMI) is a measure of how much body fat you have relative to your height and weight. Although BMI is a rough gauge of a person’s health and doesn’t incorporate all components of fitness and wellness, it does have a very strong correlation with risks for specific diseases and challenges. The following is a breakdown of your health risks based on your BMI.
How to Calculate BMI (Body Mass Index)
Many scales provide a rough estimate of BMI, and most doctor’s offices and fitness centers can measure your BMI if you ask. You can also calculate your BMI yourself using this calculator provided by the National Institute of Health.
BMI Formula: Equation to Calculate BMI is
BMI = 703 × Weight (lbs) / [Height (in)]2
BMI = Weight (kg) / [Height (m)]2
For most people, it is easier to use an online calculator.
Calculate Your BMI
If Your BMI Is Below 18.5 You Are Underweight
Most people associate a low BMI with “good” health. But a low BMI can also have BMI related risks of its own, especially if it occurs in those that are not caring for their nutritional intake. Those with a BMI below 18.5 are considered underweight. Despite how many people want to continuously lose weight, this range could put you at risk for some problematic health consequences.
The greatest risk comes not from the low BMI, but from how the low BMI occurs. Even though too much food can lead to weight gain, a BMI that is too low often means that you are not eating enough food to nourish your body. Those that have a very low BMI often also have vitamin deficiencies.
Similarly, there is some evidence that those with a BMI under 18.5 may be less capable of absorbing nutrients. The includes many essential vitamins and minerals, including:
The entire list of potential vitamins and mineral deficiencies is extensive and covers almost every vitamin and mineral, meaning those who are underweight are more likely to experience a multitude of health problems ranging from hair loss to osteoporosis.
BMI of < 18.5 = Underweight
This low BMI also leaves the body vulnerable to infections because the immune system isn’t able to do its job properly. This is primarily due to low protein, although maybe due to a lack of fat and other nutrients.
Low BMI is also associated with bone loss, arrhythmia, and anemia. The closer you are to a BMI of 18.5 and the better your nutrition the less you are at risk, but these risks are there and could exacerbate other problems as you get older. While not everyone with a low BMI is necessarily “unhealthy,” it is critical that those with a low BMI monitor their nutritional intake and speak with their doctor to determine whether or not they are at risk for these conditions.
NOTE: We did not include the underweight range on the chart above, however, if you see that your weight falls below what is shown in the healthy range on the chart, that means you are underweight.
BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 = Ideal Weight Range
This is considered the “ideal” range of BMI and is therefore not associated with any major health risks. However, it should be noted that those in this range of BMI can still suffer from health problems if they do not eat a healthy diet, smoke, avoid exercise, etc. However, most individuals that find themselves within this BMI will not be at high risk for weight-related health problems.
BMI of 25 to 29.9 = Overweight
People in this range are considered overweight, although it should be noted that this is not the same as being obese. While a BMI of over 25 is still considered to be overweight, the greater BMI related risks come after a BMI of 27. Once you pass a BMI of 27 you are put at greater risk for conditions that include:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
Being overweight can also increase your chances of becoming depressed by 55%. Being depressed, in turn, makes you 58% more likely to raise your BMI to the obese range. Overweight individuals run a greater risk of developing sleep apnea too, which can increase blood pressure and cause many of their own health issues.
It should be noted that those with a BMI in this range reduce their risk of developing these weight-related disorders if they exercise. According to research, the greatest risks for this BMI range come from those that are not exercising. Those that exercise regularly may not be at as high risk.
BMI of 30+ = Obese or Even Morbidly Obese!
Once you’ve reached a BMI of 30, you are considered to be obese. There are “classes of Obese,” – a BMI of 30 to 34 is Class 1, 35 to 39 is Class 2, and a BMI of 40 and over is considered Class 3, and sometimes referred to as “Extreme Obesity.”
Risks of Obesity and Morbid Obesity
The greater your level of obesity the more BMI related risks you are in danger of struggling with. Many of those with obesity struggle with at least one of the following diseases, and in some cases many more:
- High blood pressure
- Joint problems
- Cerebral infarction
- Heart and vascular diseases
- Psychosocial problem
- Heart disease
- Breathing difficulties
There are also some forms of cancer that become a bigger risk when people are obese. Cancers of the esophagus, kidney, endometrium (the lining of the uterus), colon, and breast (after menopause) are all linked to this BMI range. Cancers of the ovaries, gallbladder, and pancreas may also arise in connection to obesity.
All health concerns associated with being overweight become significantly more likely for those who are obese, including depression and sleep apnea. There are also anatomical problems to consider. Being obese puts a lot of weight on your bone structure. Unlike muscle, bone cannot necessarily adapt to excess weight. As a result, simple joint pain, back problems, and osteoarthritis are far more likely in those with a BMI over 30.
Steps to Improve BMI-Related Health Risks
No matter your BMI, exercise, and healthy eating can reduce your risk of serious weight-related diseases. The more you work to get into the ideal range with good dietary practices and frequent exercise, the longer and healthier you will live in the future. For those that struggle with severe obesity, weight loss through bariatric surgery is known to both reduce and cure obesity-related diseases.
Are you struggling to get your BMI to a safe range and keep it down? But you can’t get medical coverage? If so, contact us here at Mexico Bariatric Center for help, and let’s overcome these BMI related risks.