# Why BMI Calculation and Interpretation is Important

Body mass index, or BMI, is used as the standard of measuring a person’s risk for developing health problems. Based on given results, a person may need further health screenings to check for potentially life-threatening conditions. When calculating BMI, a person’s height and weight are tracked on a universally-accepted, graph chart. This leads to a classification ranging from starvation to morbidly obese. While height and weight are analyzed, body mass index does not disclose a person’s actual percentage of body fat. The goal of using a BMI calculation chart is to give a physician an idea of someone’s body mass index classification score and if necessary, to screen for possible present and future health problems.

Because a body mass number range provides an indicator of how much someone should weigh, many people have the perception that a lower BMI is better. This is only partially true as overweight, obese and morbidly obese people should set goals to enter into the normal category, which is classified as a range of 18.5 to 25. However, having a BMI lower than 18.5 is unhealthy and classifies persons either into the underweight or starvation categories. This could indicate that medical conditions such as anorexia, malnutrition or absorption deficiencies may be present and should be immediately addressed by a qualified physician.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, classifications from overweight to morbidly obese may indicate immediate health issues. Being overweight is having a BMI ranging from 26 to 30; obese ranges from 31-40 and morbidly obese is any body mass index number greater than 40. While this may scare some, athletes or people with large amounts of muscle mass may fall into these categories. If a person is very athletic, lifts weights or is generally very muscular, a physician can perform additional tests to ensure a person receives proper medical guidance.

It is important to know there are different BMI charts for adults and children. In adults, body mass index is calculated based on height and weight, whereas children’s BMI is calculated based on age and gender. Children’s body mass index charts allows for the comparison of each child against his or her peers. The goal is to be as close to the 50 percent range as possible, with extreme deviations requiring immediate physician attention.

No matter what age, people with a high BMI may be endangering themselves. A body mass index in the overweight, obese or morbidly obese categories may be a warning that diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, sleep disorders, joint stress or other issues may be present. If not addressed and rectified, continued obesity may lead to early mortality. Without losing muscle mass, the only way to obtain a lower body mass index score is to lose weight.

In addition to increased health benefits, having a lower BMI may actually lower health insurance premiums. Some health insurance companies base a person’s premium using risk assessments. The more liable the patient is to insure, the bigger the premium. Having a BMI in the normal range, combined with other healthy living habits can be a cost-saving personal improvement.

If needing to calculate your personal body mass index, there are a variety of calculators available. Since all calculations are universal, you can rest assured the result is factual. After viewing your result, be sure to see your doctor as recommended. Take steps to ensure your BMI will enter or stay in the normal range by practicing good nutrition, exercising daily and eliminating unhealthy behaviors. This will reduce your long-term health risks and lead to increased vitality. See your doctor as recommended and be sure to track your body mass index’s reduction while on a weight loss plan.