You’ve probably heard the term BMI as it relates to weight loss. But what exactly is BMI and why is it important for you to have a BMI that falls within a certain range?

BMI_Scale_ImageBMI stands for Body Mass Index. It is calculated using your weight and height – and it can be a good indicator of your risk for developing certain health conditions, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, breathing problems, osteoarthritis and certain cancers.

A higher BMI indicates greater risk for developing disease.

There are a few limitations to using BMI as your sole indicator of health. For example, BMI does not take into account body composition, or the ratio of fat to muscle. This means that someone who has more muscle than the average person – such as an athlete or bodybuilder – may have a high BMI but not be at risk for developing the disease.

On the other hand, an older adult who has decreased muscle mass and a high body fat percentage may have a normal BMI, but may be at risk of certain ailments.

For the general population however, it is a simple screening tool that can identify possible weight problems for adults.

To calculate your BMI, simply divide your weight in pounds by your height in inches squared, and then multiply by 703. Here’s an example:

Weight: 150 pounds, Height: 5’6’’ (65 inches)

[160 / (65)2] x 703 = 26.6

26.6 is the BMI in this example.

So what do the numbers mean? See below for further explanation:

Below 18.5           Underweight

18.5 – 24.9           Normal

25.0 – 29.9           Overweight

30.0 – 39.9           Obese

40 and above       Morbidly Obese

So what can you do to reduce your BMI?

Starting a weight-loss plan that includes a healthy, balanced diet as well as regular physical activity is the sure way to see lasting weight loss and improved health. Your diet should include whole grains, vegetables and fruits, as well as lean sources of protein and low-fat dairy products. Take a look at which Ronco products can help you cook these meats, fruits & veggies to perfection.

These foods are all nutrient dense, meaning they provide maximum nutrients compared to the number of calories they provide. It’s also important to include some fat in your diet. Your best bet is to choose plant-based fats such as olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds as your primary source of fat and limit saturated fats found in animal products such as high-fat meats and full-fat dairy.

When you lose 1-2 pounds per week (the rate considered healthy by most experts), you can reduce your BMI in as little as 3-6 weeks. If you look at the example above, once this person loses 6 pounds, her BMI would drop to 25.6.