Understanding Your Body's Weight
When I first started teaching, children’s height was measured, and their body weighed by the school nurse each fall. Today, we neither measure their height or weigh them. When they go to the doctor, their BMI is calculated from their height and weight.
The body mass index (BMI) is an estimation of a person's body fat, according to the National Institutes of Health. To calculate BMI, divide your weight (in pounds) by your height (in inches) squared, and then multiply that number by a conversion factor of 703. For example, someone who is 5’8” is 68” tall. If they weigh 180 lbs., you divide that by 68 squared, or 180/4,624 which equals 0.039. Then multiply 0.039 times 703 to get a BMI of 27.4. A BMI between 18.4 and 24.9 is considered normal. A BMI between 25.0 and 25.9 means a person is overweight. When the BMI reaches 30 or higher, the person is considered obese.
There is evidence that later in life a BMI over 25 can lead to certain diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, type II diabetes, and arthritis. The BMI alone is not used by doctors to determine health risks. However, when put together with other tests, it can be an indicator of future health problems.
So what should we do? First, when you go to the doctor, discuss with him or her what the doctor considers a healthy weight for you or your child. Then plan on eating healthy meals and getting plenty of exercise. If you need to lose weight, work on it in a controlled steady way so as not to lose too much weight too quickly. By developing healthy eating habits and cutting out junk food, most people can gradually get to the ideal BMI in a timely fashion.
Our bodies are a gifts of God. Not only do we want to care for them properly through healthy eating, but also by exercising properly we will find that we have more energy than we currently have. If you want to learn more about BMI, visit the CDC website at www.cdc.gov.