Body mass index (BMI) is a standard health assessment tool in most healthcare facilities.
Did you know that there is a simple height and weight calculation that can tell you a lot about your health? Known as Body Mass Index (BMI), this measure takes a person’s weight and divides by it the square of a person’s height. Although this measure does not give a person’s exact body fat percentage, it is a free, quick calculation that correlates with disease outcomes.
Want to know why this is such a useful tool? New research suggests that people classified as overweight in midlife are more likely to deal with long-term adverse health and more healthcare costs.
These findings came from a study that asked questions about obesity and its impact on life expectancy and healthcare costs in the United States. Right now, the US annually spends more than $140 billion on healthcare costs associated with obesity. Researchers also know that obesity is associated with a higher likelihood of death, but Americans just keep gaining weight.
Now, national projections suggest that 1 in 2 American adults will be classified as “obese” by 2030.
In light of this problem, the medical world is looking for any way possible to help patients understand the gravity of their weight status. But because the BMI measure is not an exact measure of body fat, there has been some hesitancy to use it as a quick way to classify adults in a “problem zone.”
For example, professional athletes often have increased muscle mass due to their profession. However, because muscle weighs more, the BMI calculation for height and weight would likely put athletes in the overweight category. This result would be inaccurate. But for the average person, a high BMI is likely to mean a higher percentage of body fat. In turn, a person with a higher BMI result is likely to have long-term adverse health effects.
This recent study used Medicare data to look at the health of people who were categorized by BMI as overweight in midlife. Then, it followed their health journey forward. As expected, the study confirmed that most of us in the US are not professional athletes, to put it kindly. It is more likely that those who are classified as “overweight” in midlife by a BMI measure will struggle with poor health and significant healthcare costs.
So, do you know your Body Mass Index score? Would you like to try this quick and easy way to determine whether you should prioritize lifestyle changes?
Check out the Center for Disease Control’s Adult BMI Calculator here
Next, if you’re looking to make changes or are interested to read more tips on healthy living, consider checking out and subscribing to our blog
Finally, if you are looking for accountability, consider talking with your healthcare provider, and then look into the ways our app, coming soon, can help you manage your health journey.
Having a clear understanding of how your health today affects tomorrow is an important step in getting on the right track.