What a healthy BMI doesn’t tell you

By author photo Laura Ford

health

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a calculation that uses height and weight to determine a person’s healthy weight range (often known as healthy BMI). It is calculated by taking a person’s weight (kg) and dividing it by their height in square metres. Once you have worked out your BMI, which you can try using the Jenny Craig BMI calculator, you’ll find that you sit within one of the following categories:

  • BMI below 18.5 – underweight
  • BMI 18.5 – 25 – normal/healthy weight
  • BMI 25 – 30 – overweight
  • BMI 30+ – obese

Being within the healthy BMI range puts you at a lower risk of health issues, however, just because you sit in a higher BMI category doesn’t automatically mean you’re unhealthy. Here are some important factors to consider when interpreting your BMI and overall health.

  1. BMI is an estimate and doesn’t take into account other factors like age, gender, body composition, medical history, genetics, lifestyle factors or ethnicity. These factors combined contribute to your picture of health, rather than your BMI alone.

  2. BMI doesn’t measure muscle mass so if you’re an active person, it may show that you have a higher BMI, even though you may be fit and strong.

  3. If you’re tall, you’ll naturally have a higher BMI.

  4. BMI doesn’t show where fat is stored in your body and measuring abdominal waist circumference is a better predictor of health than BMI alone. Higher amounts of fat around the mid-section is associated with poorer health outcomes than fat stored around the hips and thighs.

  5. If you’re older, a healthy BMI is actually one that’s slightly higher!

BMI can be a useful tool, especially when used in combination with other measures to determine your health, so don’t let it be the only focus on your health journey. Don’t let a high BMI get you down, as it’s just one piece of your health puzzle and there are many ways you can improve your BMI and overall health.

If you’re looking to have a healthy BMI, try to take the focus off the scales and look towards adding more sustainable healthy habits into your life by setting yourself small achievable goals. The Jenny Craig Program, along with your Consultant can help you do this.

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