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What is Body Mass Index (or BMI)?

The Body Mass Index (BMI) is often used as a calculation for determining a persons percentage of fat based on their Height and Weight for people aged 18 to 65. The actual calculation is shown in both Metric and Imperial in Table 1.1

Whilst it is generally accepted that the BMI index is a reasonable formula for determining a typical person's percentage of body fat, there are some other considerations that must be taken into account.

BMI Classification

  • Less then 18.5 Underweight
  • 18.5–24.9 Normal Weight
  • 25.0–29.9 Overweight
  • 30.0+ Obese


Although a lot of attention is paid to those that are overweight, being underweight can also be a problem. When it comes to Body Mass Index concerns, the effects of being underweight can be a real health concern as well. A BMI under 18.5 is considered underweight. If you are not sure what your number is, you can calculate it using our simple and easy to use BMI calculator.

To calculate your BMI, you will need to know your body weight and your height. These two numbers, used in a BMI calculator can provide you with a number from a range. Any number below 18.5 is considered Underweight.

Why Is Underweight a Problem?

A lean BMI, also known as an underweight BMI, indicates that an individual's body fat composition is very low. This may not be a problem. However, many of those who have a lean body mass index have a body weight that is too low. Being too low signal that your body is malnourished. Everyone's body is different, but most people need to have a BMI of at least 19 in order to maintain their overall health.

Certain concerns can occur in those who have a body mass index of 18.5 or lower. You should talk to your doctor about these concerns to determine if they affect you or not.

  • In some situations, a lean BMI can signal a problem with an individual's immune system. The immune system may not be able to function at the proper level.
  • Many women with an underweight reading may no longer have periods. This can limit the ability to have a child and it may cause other menstrual concerns.
  • In some cases, bone loss can increase in those with a low body weight like this. If bone loss does occur, this can put an individual at risk for a significant bone fracture that can be difficult to heal.
  • Some individuals may be suffering from malnutrition even if they don’t know it. If this occurs, it may be hard for the body's cells and organs to get the nutrition necessary to function normally. putting them at risk for serious health problems.

For those that have a BMI of being underweight, the first step is to speak to your doctor about it to determine what the underlying cause is. A very low body mass index can put you at risk for a wide assortment of health concerns since the body's organs will have a difficult time functioning and the immune system could be compromised.


When it comes to calculating body mass index, many people will land in a normal range. This is a good indication that you may not be at risk for significant health issues. Those that have a BMI under 18.5 are thought to be underweight, and therefore at risk for a variety of health problems. Those who have a BMI that is over 24.5 are considered overweight. The range from 19 to 24 is considered normal..

How to Calculate BMI

A body mass index number is from a range. This information tells you how much body fat your body has. The body needs to have some fat. to function properly. Maintaining a healthy weight also can help to reduce the risk for developing health problems. To determine if you are in this range, you will need to use your height and your weight. You can use a BMI chart or BMI calculator to help determine what your number is.

What If You Are Normal?

Those who have a normal range will be at good height to weight ratio level and will generally be in good health for their height and weight - based solely on your risk factors associated with body fat. Individuals that are a healthy weight can still become ill. However, those who are overweight, obese or morbidly obese, or those who are underweight, are at a greater risk of developing life threatening illnesses.

In addition, your BMI may not be clearly represented here. For example, if you are breast-feeding, or you are a body builder, this reading may not be accurate for you. Children and even teenagers may also not fall into this level as adults do.

BMI calculators are a Guide

The bottom line is, you are only as healthy as your body is based on your doctor's tests, diagnosis and advice. In other words, do not use your normal BMI level to be the only tool you use to keep yourself healthy. Maintaining a healthy weight is important, but it is not the only thing you need to do to stay healthy.

A BMI normal rating is one of the most important things you can do for your body. Keeping your weight within this range can help to reduce the number of health risks you have. You may still develop unwanted health conditions, but your body may be better able to deal with them if you are at a healthy weight rather than being at an unhealthy range.


For those who have a BMI within the overweight range, it is time to take control of your weight and take getting healthy serious. The body mass index calculates how much of your body's mass is made up of body fat. The higher that number is, the more at risk you are for developing a range of health concerns. Those who are just outside the normal range on the high side fall into the overweight range.

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What Is It?

For those who are in the overweight range, this means that when you calculate your BMI level, you fall between 25 and 29.9 on the scale. If this is where you landed, then you do need to take steps to improve your health.

What Does That Mean?

An overweight level means you are at a considerable risk level for developing life threatening conditions including the following.

  • Type 2 diabetes, a risk that increases the more overweight you become
  • Coronary heart disease, a hardening of the arteries leading into the heart
  • Stroke, when plaque breaks away into the blood stream and travels to the brain
  • Kidney disease, when the kidneys cannot function at the proper level
  • Sleep apnea, the inability to sleep properly at night due to the inability to breathe properly
  • Cancer, including those that grow quickly and spread fast throughout the body
  • Arthritis, a condition in which the joints wear down significantly because of the amount of pressure (from the excess weight) on them

Obese Class

If you calculate your BMI, you will be determining how much of your body's mass, or make up is made up of fat. The lower your fat level is, the healthier your body can be (assuming it is not too low.) For those who fall into the category of obese class 1, the risks of developing serious health problems is very real and is likely.

When calculating your BMI, or body mass index, if the number representing you is higher than 30 on the scale, you fall into the obese classification. This classification has two levels. The first level ranges from 30 to 34.9. If you are in this level, you are at a high risk for developing life-threatening conditions that could further damage your health. Those who are in the obese class 2 level have a BMI above 35 are at an even higher risk.

Do you suffer from any of the following medical conditions?

These conditions are often related to being overweight. Please tick all that apply to for further information.

Do you suffer from any of the following conditions:

When calculating your BMI, or body mass index, if the number representing you is higher than 30 on the scale, you fall into the obese classification. This classification has two levels. The first level ranges from 30 to 34.9. If you are in this level, you are at a high risk for developing life-threatening conditions that could further damage your health. Those who are in the obese class 2 level have a BMI above 35 are at an even higher risk.

What This Means

If you are classified as obese class 2, you need to do something about your health right away. Not doing so could mean you will develop conditions such as:

  • Life threatening heart disease,
  • Strokes
  • Blood clots
  • Kidney failure
  • Sleep apnea
  • Digestive concerns

In addition to this, many people who are at this weight level are in constant pain and discomfort from the excessive weight. Even if the individuals feels like they are healthy right now, without any outward signs of disease or affliction, things can change rapidly, leaving the individual at a higher risk for developing worsening conditions over time.

What You Can Do

Individuals who are classified as obese can do something about their condition. By losing weight, can reduce the risk of developing these conditions and even reverse some that are currently present. It is a good idea to work with your physician to determine the best possible way to reduce your weight, though. At this level, weight loss surgery may be the best option to reduce your weight quickly enough to reduce the risk to your health overall.

Your insurance may cover you for weightloss surgery. Complete the form below to to be contacted for an assessment.

Do you suffer from any of the following conditions:

Weight Loss Surgery Qualifications

Obese class 1 is a classification put in place by the United States Food and Drug Administration. Those who fall into this category must also have two co-morbidities in order to qualify for weight loss surgery. A co-morbidity is a condition that is present in the individual as well as the initial diagnosis. For example, if your BMI is within this range, you must also have another condition that helps you to qualify for weight loss surgery.

Examples of co-morbidities include hypertension, diabetes, heart disease or kidney disease. In short, at this level, you must have a secondary condition that is also risky to your health aside from just being obese, to qualify for weight loss surgery under the FDA's guidelines. This does not mean all doctors will require this, but many will set this as a limit.

What It Means to Be Obese

Individuals who fall into the obese classification 1 will find that losing weight is difficult to do but it is a necessary step in saving their life. With this type of BMI level, you are at 100 percent or higher risk level to developing a life threatening condition than those who have a normal BMI. Some of the conditions you may suffer from include heart disease, type 2 diabetes, strokes and kidney failure.

By reducing your weight into the normal range of the BMI scale, you can improve your health and reduce your risk of developing a health condition. However, you should consult with your doctor about the proper way for you to lose weight.

Obese Class 2

Those who have a body mass index that is above 35.5 are considered to be in the obese class 2 level. These individuals are at the highest risk of developing life-threatening conditions. Compared to someone in the normal range, those who are at this level have a significantly increased risk of developing comorbidities that could reduce their life expectancy.

What Is a “BMI”?

A body mass index calculation is the determination of how much body fat your body has compared to your weight and height. Having some body fat is necessary for overall health. However, the normal range is between 19 and 24.9. If your BMI number comes in above this, you are more likely to develop more than one life threatening condition that could shorten your life.

Obese Class 2 and Weight Loss Surgery

One of the reasons that the Food and Drug Administration separates obesity into two classifications is to determine hewn an individual needs to have other health concerns to quality for weight loss surgery. Those who have a BMI in the obese class 2 range may not need to have any additional health conditions at the present time to qualify for weight loss surgery. However, many will have concerns such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and hypertension to name a few.

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