Body Mass Index Or BMI

Body mass index or BMI is a tool that is used to measure how fat a person is. It is a person’s weight compared to height. It tells us how a person’s weight can affect his/her risk of some chronic illnesses like diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. A person’s weight alone does not show the risk. BMI tells us how much weight a person’s body has in a small area.

BMI is the ratio of height to weight. If two people weigh 200lb, but one person is 5ft and the other is 6ft, it means that the person who is 5ft has a higher BMI than the person who is 6ft with the same weight. The person with higher BMI carries more weight in a small area than the person who has a lower BMI. The person who is 5 ft then has more BMI and carries more risk for chronic diseases.

  • A person with a BMI less than 18.5 is underweight.
  • BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is normal
  • BMI of 25 to 29.9 is overweight
  • BMI of 30 and over is obese

It is not known exactly why people with higher BMI are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. It is thought that obesity may cause insulin resistance. It is possible that the more body mass there is in an area, the more difficult it is for insulin to move sugar adequately from the blood to the tissues. The BMI can actually be used as a body fat calculator because in many people high BMI is caused by the accumulation of fat

The table below is a BMI chart that can be used to find the body mass index of a person. It works almost like the pantyhose size selection tool. All you have to do is find the height and weight of a person. Then match the height in the left column, which is marked with the word “Height (Inches)”. Across, you can find the weight, in pounds. The “Weight (Pounds)”, though labeled on the right hand side, are the many numbers that run across each height on the left column in bold. The number on top of each column is the BMI for that weight and height.

BMI Table

 

 

BMI

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

28

29

30

31

32

33

34

35

36

37

38

39

40

Weight
(Pounds)

Height (Inches)

                                           

58

91

96

100

105

110

115

119

124

129

134

138

143

148

153

158

162

167

172

177

181

186

191

59

94

99

104

109

114

119

124

128

133

138

143

148

153

158

163

168

173

178

183

188

193

198

60

97

102

107

112

118

123

128

133

138

143

148

153

158

163

168

174

179

184

189

194

199

204

61

100

106

111

116

122

127

132

137

143

148

153

158

164

169

174

180

185

190

195

201

206

211

62

104

109

115

120

126

131

136

142

147

153

158

164

169

175

180

186

191

196

202

207

213

218

63

107

113

118

124

130

135

141

146

152

158

163

169

175

180

186

191

197

203

208

214

220

225

64

110

116

122

128

134

140

145

151

157

163

169

174

180

186

192

197

204

209

215

221

227

232

65

114

120

126

132

138

144

150

156

162

168

174

180

186

192

198

204

210

216

222

228

234

240

66

118

124

130

136

142

148

155

161

167

173

179

186

192

198

204

210

216

223

229

235

241

247

67

121

127

134

140

146

153

159

166

172

178

185

191

198

204

211

217

223

230

236

242

249

255

68

125

131

138

144

151

158

164

171

177

184

190

197

204

210

216

223

230

236

243

249

256

262

69

128

135

142

149

155

162

169

176

182

189

196

203

210

216

223

230

236

243

250

257

263

270

70

132

139

146

153

160

167

174

181

188

195

202

209

216

222

229

236

243

250

257

264

271

278

71

136

143

150

157

165

172

179

186

193

200

208

215

222

229

236

243

250

257

265

272

279

286

72

140

147

154

162

169

177

184

191

199

206

213

221

228

235

242

250

258

265

272

279

287

294

73

144

151

159

166

174

182

189

197

204

212

219

227

235

242

250

257

265

272

280

288

295

302

74

148

155

163

171

179

186

194

202

210

218

225

233

241

249

256

264

272

280

287

295

303

311

75

152

160

168

176

184

192

200

208

216

224

232

240

248

256

264

272

279

287

295

303

311

319

76

156

164

172

180

189

197

205

213

221

230

238

246

254

263

271

279

287

295

304

312

320

328

 

Source: Clinical Guidelines on the Identification, Evaluation, and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults, National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, September 1998.

* Without Shoes
**Without Clothes

You Can Reduce Body Mass Index

If your BMI is high, there are things that you can do to reduce it to as close to normal as possible. This will mainly involve exercise programs and diet plans.

It means that you will have to participate in any of the available weight loss plans. Your primary physician can help you determine which of the weight loss plans that is good for you. You need to exercise to burn fat.

Another thing you can do is to get on one of the diet plans that will reduce caloric intake, while letting you maintain a well-balanced, nutritious diet. Introducing diet plans to normalize BMI is like placing yourself on a pre-diabetic diet plan.The doctor may refer you to a dietitian who will help you choose which of the diet plans is right for you. The American Diabetes Association exchange diet is great for people who are on a diet, so you can see what you can use to introduce variety in your diet plan. This can be found in Create Your Plate.


Measuring The Abdomen

Apart from BMI, a person’s risk for diabetes in terms of weight can be measured by measuring the person’s waist to get the waist circumference or abdominal girth. The more the measurement around the abdomen, the higher there is a chance for diabetes.

The normal waist for women is 35 inches or less and for men, it is 40 inches or less. The more this measurement is over 35 inches fr women and over 40 inches for men, the higher the chance that the person will develop obesity related diseases like diabetes type 2.

This waist measurement does not actually tell if someone is obese, but it shows how much fat you have around the abdomen, which increases the health risk more than the fat in other parts of the body.

To measure the waist circumference or abdominal girth, use a measurement tape and wrap around the waist at midline of the abdomen. Sometimes the waistline is obvious as the thinnest part of the abdomen. The number is read off the measurement tape.

Getting your BMI below 25 and your waist measurement below 35 inches for women,

and below 40 inches for the men, will greatly contribute to decrease your type 2 diabetes risk.


It is important to combine diet and exercise in order to get to optimal BMI. You also need to monitor your BMI frequently in order to know how your plan is working and what is successful

Limitation of BMI Chart

When using BMI chart to estimate how much fat a person is, it is important to understand that this may not work well in very muscular or high fat people. In very muscular people, their BMI may be lower than that calculated with BMI chart because a higher percentage of their weight is muscle, not fat. Also some people may have higher percentage of fat, which means that their real BMI is higher than that calculated using the BMI chart.

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