Body mass index health tip

How to get your BMI down: 8 body mass index health tips

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of American adults are obese1. That’s more than a third of our adult population. The good news is that we have the power to impact and reduce the amount of obesity in our community. It starts with knowing what to look for and sharing that knowledge with others so we can make steps toward a healthier future together. 

 

Your body mass index (BMI) is a key player in reducing obesity. Calculating your BMI can help you have a better idea of your risk for weight-related diseases and complications, and can help you learn how to get your BMI down to a healthy place. By knowing your BMI, you and your doctor can make a plan for how you can stay healthy for years to come.

What is body mass index?

First things first: you need to know that body mass index, or BMI, is not a term intended to scare you. Quite simply, your BMI is a number based on your height and weight. It’s a fairly accurate indicator that lets you know if your total body fat is at a healthy level. 

 

Since excess body fat is so closely tied to health risks and problems that can be reduced or prevented, your BMI is a pretty important figure. While it’s not a diagnostic tool, your BMI gives you and your doctor a good idea of your level of weight-related health risks. Knowing this number and keeping it at or within the “normal” range can help you keep your weight under control, reduce your risks and protect your overall health.

High BMI risks

Our bodies are not meant to carry more than a normal amount of weight and body fat. If you maintain a healthy weight, you can reduce your risk of weight-related diseases and health conditions, such as: 

 

  • Stroke
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Diabetes (Type 2)
  • Heart attacks
  • Arthritis
  • High cholesterol
  • Gallstones
  • Sleep problems
  • Some Cancers

 

Ask your doctor if you have any high BMI risks or weight-related health concerns in your medical history, and how to implement some healthy new habits into your daily routine.

How to calculate body mass index

Your physician or a member of your healthcare team can help you learn how to calculate body mass index2. Or, if you know your height and weight, calculating your BMI only takes some simple math. Weigh in, measure up and use this simple formula: 

 

  • Multiply your weight in pounds by 703 
  • Divide that answer by your height in inches 
  • Divide that answer by your height in inches again 

 

Again, your BMI is not an exact indicator of your health, and it doesn’t diagnose weight-related diseases. However, it’s pretty accurate, and it gives you an idea of where you stand with your weight. Compare your BMI to this chart:

 

 BMI Weight   Status 
 18.5 or lower   Underweight 
 18.5 - 24.9  Normal
 25.0 - 29.9  Overweight
 30.0 or above   Obese

How to get your BMI down

Maintaining a healthy weight isn’t about dieting. It’s a lifestyle. There are simple things you can do each and every day to keep your weight at a healthy level and reduce your risk of weight-related diseases and health problems. Here are some ideas to keep you moving in the right direction: 

 

  1. Get 30 minutes of aerobic exercise 5 times per week3
  2. Limit saturated fats to no more than 7% of your total calories 
  3. Enjoy a low-cholesterol diet with lean meats, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains 
  4. Limit consumption of red meat and sugary foods and drinks 
  5. Avoid tobacco smoke and limit alcohol consumption 
  6. Set small and manageable goals for weight loss 
  7. Keep a close eye on portion sizes
  8. Balance your calorie consumption with your physical activity 

 

Always remember, you’re not alone in your journey to wellness. If you have specific questions or want more information about how to get your BMI down, talk to your doctor or nutritionist for tips on getting and staying your healthiest. If you don’t know where to turn, come see if CenterWell Senior Primary Care is right for you. 

 

 

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/adult/index.html
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/adult_bmi/index.html
  3. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, “Physical Activity Guidelines: Older Adults,” November 2015, http://health.gov/paguidelines/guidelines/older-adults.aspx.

 

This material is provided for informational use only and should not be construed as medical advice or used in place of consulting a licensed professional. You should consult with an applicable licensed professional to determine what is right for you.

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