Written by Amy Pusey (last updated April 22, 2009)
In the battle of the bulging waistlines, personal trainers and doctors alike use a common tool in order to help them develop effective dietary plans and fitness regimens to assist their clients in losing excess weight. You may often hear the term BMI, which stands for Body Mass Index. The tool is used to estimate an individual's body composition by showing a relationship between the height and weight. You may be curious as to how to calculate your own BMI. It is a simple formula, and can be learned by completing the following steps:
Now, in order to put your BMI into perspective, compare it to the table below to learn if it falls into a healthy or unhealthy range. Keep in mind that even an underweight BMI is typically considered to be unhealthy. The categories are:
It is important to note that the BMI can overestimate body fat in extremely fit individuals, such as athletes, who may have a muscular build, as opposed to additional fat. Conversely, it could possibly underestimate the body fat in individuals who are older or exhibit other health conditions that may have caused a loss of muscle mass. Where children are concerned, an annual increase in your child's BMI is typically contributed to a natural increase in the lean mass and not fat content. Once your child enters late adolescence (late teens,) then a closer look at fat mass should occur.
Besides being underweight or overweight, there are other risk factors that may impact your BMI results. These factors include:
While maintaining your weight and participating in an adequate exercise program are important, a healthy lifestyle should also include a nutritious and balanced diet. This does not mean you need to consume only dietary foods or eliminate all of your favorite meals from your usual diet. Instead, evaluate your dietary habits, and to make it a healthier one, be sure it includes the following:
Does a new healthy diet mean you have to give up all of your favorite comfort foods? Absolutely not, but it does require moderation and altering some of them to lessen their negative impact on your diet. For example, consume them less often by cutting back to a weekly basis, eat smaller portions because portion control is important in every diet, and change how you cook the food. If you always served it battered, breaded, or fried, try having it baked or broiled flavored with seasoning.
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