Understanding Body Mass Index: Why Is Knowing Your BMI Helpful?

Understanding Body Mass Index: Why Is Knowing Your BMI Helpful?

More than two-thirds of people in the United States are either overweight or obese. Carrying excess weight increases your risk for many health issues, such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. 

Knowing your body mass index (BMI), which is calculated based on your height and weight, can help you understand where you fall on the weight spectrum — and how it relates to your overall health.

At Michael Sutker, MD, in Dallas and McKinney, Texas, board-certified bariatric and general surgeon Dr. Michael Sutker specializes in helping people with a high BMI lose weight and take control of their health. Here, he explains what your BMI can reveal about your health. 

What is body mass index?

Body mass index (BMI) is a simple numerical value calculated from your weight and height. The formula for calculating BMI is done in three steps:

  1. Multiply your weight (in pounds) by 703
  2. Divide that answer by your height (in inches)
  3. Divide that answer by your height once again

The result is a number that falls into a specific range, which is then categorized to indicate whether you're underweight, normal weight, overweight, obese, or morbidly obese. The BMI categories are:

So for example, a person who is five feet two inches tall (62 inches) and weighs 170 pounds would have a BMI of 31.1, which falls into the obese category. You can also use an online BMI calculator to determine your BMI — and figure out what might qualify as a healthier weight for your height.  

Why is your BMI relevant?

One of the primary benefits of knowing your BMI is that it can serve as an early warning sign for potential health risks. Research has shown that the higher your BMI, the higher your risk of developing serious chronic health conditions like high blood pressure, gallstones, breathing problems, heart disease, and certain cancers. 

At Michael Sutker, MD, we use your BMI as a screening tool. If you're morbidly obese, you may qualify for weight loss surgery, enabling you to lose a significant amount of weight rapidly and subsequently improve your health more quickly.

Custom weight loss solutions

While many people view failure to lose weight as a personal failure or weakness, experts know that weight is controlled by complex interactions between hormones and neurons in your hypothalamus. And, often, despite your best efforts, your body works against you when you try to lose weight with diet and exercise.

Our team offers a variety of weight loss solutions, including medical weight loss procedures such as bariatric surgery, to help patients lose weight and reduce their health risks. 

If you want to learn more about your BMI and find out if you qualify for our medical weight loss solutions, Michael Sutker, MD, in Dallas and McKinney, Texas, can help. Call your nearest office today, or use our easy online booking feature to schedule an appointment any time. 

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