Body mass index (BMI) is a measurement of a person's weight relative to their height. It is what our practice, and insurance companies, use to qualify a patient for weight loss surgery. So today we are going to breakdown the BMI calculation and let you in on what it really measures.
If you want to calculate your body mass index yourself, you would convert your body weight into kilograms from pounds—this is done by taking your weight in pounds and multiplying it by 0.45. Continuing with the formula, you will need to convert your height into meters—this is done by multiplying your height in inches by 0.0254. Using your height in meters, square this number (eg: 60 in x 0.0254 = 1.524 meters then 1.524x1.524 = 2.32 m2).
Next, you will want to divide your weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared. This will give you your body mass index!
But if all of that is too much work, you could always use a BMI calculator online.
Interpreting Your BMI
Based on this calculation, you are then categorized into various BMI categories. Most insurance companies consider a patient a candidate for weight loss surgery if their BMI greater than 35 with 2 weight related co-morbidities (medical problems) such as diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, heart disease, arthritis, reflux etc (the list is long).
You can also be a candidate for surgery if your BMI is greater than 40 without any medical problems.
Although BMI is used in many medical practices, it is not considered a health screening tool—thus it does not tell you any health risks you may be experiencing. With that being said, you could be a normal weight yet still be diagnosed with diabetes or hypertension.
Why Use the BMI Calculation?
The body mass index calculation can appear a little "skewed" for some individuals. Let's say you are very athletic and thus weigh 220 pounds yet are only 5'10"—You would be considered obese based on your body composition (having more muscle and less fat)
Calculating your BMI is a quick and inexpensive way to "screen" your body composition. Similarly, the BMI calculation is a good way to assess your health risks due to your weight. We know that as an individuals weight increases so does their risk for the associated medical problems and ultimately earlier death and decreased quality of life. Our other blogs address these problems more specifically.
Based on this calculation, if you fall within the "overweight," "obese," or "extremely obese" category, we welcome you to make an appointment to come see someone on our team. At Live Healthy MD we focus on all aspects of treating this disease with both surgical and non-surgical treatments.