Adult BMI Calculator
Human bodies are complex and range in height and weight. Each individual has a unique bone structure and body constitution. Medical research shows that excess body fat increases the risk of disease. Maintaining a healthy body weight is essential for preventing obesity related diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. But how does one know what the ideal body weight for their height is? Most medical professionals agree that using the Body Mass Index (BMI) can give an accurate target weight range for individuals. The adult BMI calculator is a mathematical formula that uses the height and weight ratio of a person to determine if they are underweight, of a healthy weight, overweight, or obese.
Obesity is on the rise. Fast paced lives and busy schedules have increased the use of fast food and convenient boxed or frozen meals. Exercise, hobbies, and other stress relieving activities are many times decreased or forgotten completely. When unhealthy diets, physical inactivity, and stress are chronic, the body responds by storing excess calories as fat. As the body’s mass increases so does the risk for coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, many types of cancers, gallstones, sleep apnea, and Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome.
History of the Adult BMI Calculator
The adult BMI calculator utilizes a basic math formula devised by Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet, a Belgian mathematician, sociologist, statistician, and astronomer, in the 1830’s. For over 100 years, doctors, personal trainers, and other medical care professionals have trusted the adult BMI calculator to provide accurate information about patients’ ideal weight and subsequent risk of disease.
The BMI formula for adults requires collecting height and weight data from the individual. The adult BMI calculator is designed for individuals 20 years of age or older. There are versions of the BMI calculator specifically designed for children and adolescents.
For calculating an adult’s BMI, the formula is:
- BMI = weight (in kilograms) / height (in meters) ^2
– or –
- BMI = weight (in pounds) / height (in inches) ^2 *703
For example: An individual who weighs 145 pounds and is 5 foot 8 inches.
- Weight of 65 kilograms / height of 1.72 meters^ = 21.97 BMI
- Weight of 145 pounds / height of 68 inches^ *703 = 22.04 BMI
The BMI formula is more accurate when using metric units, due to rounding errors. However, the discrepancy is minimal and both calculations provide a good indication of the person’s overall health. Note: The adult BMI calculator is a screening tool, and is not meant to diagnosis medical issues. As always, consult your Primary Care Provider with any questions and concerns you may have.
Understanding BMI Scores
The BMI ranges from underweight to obese. A high BMI may indicate a high level of body fat that could pose a threat to health and longevity. Obesity has recently been subdivided into three categories: Class 1, 2, and 3 Obese. As defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the BMI scoring is as follows:
- 18.5 and below is considered Underweight.
- 18.5 to 24.9 is considered a Healthy Weight.
- 25.0 to 29.9 is considered Overweight.
- 30.0 to 34.9 is considered Class 1 Obese.
- 35.0 to 39.9 is considered Class 2 Obese.
- 40.0 or higher is considered Class 3 Obese.
Limitations of the BMI
The BMI is a valuable assessment tool to evaluate how an individual’s weight may impact their current health. However, there are several factors that the BMI does not take into account:
- Seniors tend to have more body weight than younger adults, yet have an equivalent BMI.
- Women’s bodies tend to have higher amounts of fat than men, yet maintain an equivalent BMI.
Highly trained athletes, bodybuilders, and other muscular individuals may have a greater BMI due to the high amount of muscle mass (muscle is about 18% more dense per volume than fat).
- Other factors include ethnicity, age, and genetics.
Dangers of a High BMI
The adult BMI calculator is a simple and inexpensive tool to measure body fat and the possibility of future health complications. Research has shown that high BMI scores correlate with serious health risks. Obesity impacts all the systems on the body and puts undue stress on the organs the body.
Obesity is associated with, but not limited to, the following health conditions:
- Cancer – In women, obesity increases the risk of cancer in the breast, colon, gallbladder, and reproductive organs. In men, obesity raises the risk of colon and prostate cancer.
- Type 2 Diabetes – Obesity may cause a resistance to insulin, a hormone essential to maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.
- Metabolic Syndrome – A major risk factor for heart disease characterized by abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, insulin resistance, blood clotting abnormalities, and inflammation.
- Heart Disease – Atherosclerosis is a hardening of the arteries and responsible for the onset on heart attacks and strokes.
- Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome – The stress that obesity inflicts upon the body is systemic. The adrenal glands secrete cortisol in response to stress and become overworked when the body is in a state of chronic stress related to obesity and other lifestyle choices.
Obesity and the NeuroEndoMetabolic Stress Response
Obesity places the body in a state of chronic stress. The human body reacts to physical, emotional, and situational stress the same. The brain secretes the neurotransmitter epinephrine or adrenaline to signal the adrenal glands. The adrenals kick into action producing cortisol, also referred to as the stress hormone, and the body goes into a state of “fight-or-flight”. This is the body’s survival mode. Heart and blood pressure increase to boost focus, energy, and decision making capabilities. At the same time, body systems that are not needed for immediate survival decrease significantly; including the digestive, reproductive, and immune systems. This is called the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress ResponseSM. The NEM response is essential when an individual is confronted with life threatening situations. Yet, when this stress comes from obesity or other life stressors the adrenals may become taxed. This may result in Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome.
Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome is characterized by a variety of symptoms. These include, but are not limited to, constant fatigue, an inability to handle stress, anxiety, insomnia, depression, cold hands and feet, memory and concentration problems, low libido, and many other symptoms. When left untreated, Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome may continue to worsen. The advanced stages of Adrenal Fatigue can be devastating, with debilitating effects to the physical and mental health of the individual.
The Adult BMI calculator is a useful tool in reaching and maintaining a healthy weight in order to both prevent and manage many serious health conditions. To decrease a high BMI, there are several important lifestyle changes that greatly impact health. Eating a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables and staying hydrated are essential. Physical activity is vital to achieving and maintaining a healthy BMI. Always start slowly, with low-impact exercise such as walking, Yoga, or Tai Chi.
Note: Consult your Primary Care Provider before beginning any exercise regimen.