What is Body Mass Index (BMI) you asked?  Well I’m glad you asked!  First of all, it is a free service I am now offering all my patients. Still interested?  Body Mass Index is a screening toolthat uses your height and weight to evaluate your body fat.Knowing your BMI will give you a ballpark idea of whether your weight is healthy for you.  In order to interpret BMI there are other factors that must be taken into consideration. Physical activity, age, body composition, waist circumference, blood pressure, cholesterol level, blood sugar level, and family history of disease are important factors that need to be taken into account in order to gain a proper understanding of BMI.

Body Mass Index is broken down in four categories:

  • Underweight 18.5 or less
  • Normal 18.5 – 24.9
  • Overweight 25.0 -29.9
  • Obese 30.0 or higher

In general persons with a BMI in the overweight or obese category means that they will have a greater chance of developing one of these diseases:

The higher the BMI the greater the chance a person has of getting these conditions.  For example, someone with a BMI in the obese category has a 50 to 100% increased risk of death compared to someone with a BMI in the normal range. 70% of the risk of developing diabetes is linked to being overweight.  Conversely, if a person is overweight and has one or more of these conditions, but then lose weight he/she has a good shot at conquering the disease.  Losing as little as 10% can have a meaningful effect on decreasing the risk of:

  • Hypertension
  • Dyslipidemia
  • Stroke
  • Heart Disease
  • Certain Cancers

As I mentioned, Body Mass Index needs to be interpreted.  The BMI score is a rough number and needs to be factored in with more information in order to have real meaning.  For example a person with a muscular build will have a high BMI, because the BMI does not take into account lean muscle mass.  Also, BMI is not meaningful for pregnant or breastfeeding women,  nor is it helpful for kids.

While Body Mass Index has its limitations, it is a good tool.  If the BMI is too high, it is time to see a doctor and have it interpreted.  Lab work, an examination, and a good history of a patient are the key elements to guiding a physician.

Next time you’re in my office, we would be happy to calculate your BMI and blood pressure as part of your care. Many people may not realize that a chiropractor could help with things like Body Mass Index and blood pressure. However, over the last 20 years I have helped my patients with a wide variety of health problems, from chronic ear infections in kids to chronic fatigue issues in adults and a whole lot in between. What chiropractors don’t do is drugs or surgery.  I like to think of myself as an alternative family doctor, offering  a different approach to mainstream medical treatment.  Sometimes drugs are necessary, but often the path to health can be achieved without drugs or surgery.

Do you have any questions or comments?  I would love to interact with you here in the comment section!