What Your BMI Says About Your Health

What Your BMI Says About Your Health

Most everyone knows the dangers of being obese: Extra pounds dramatically increase your risks of heat disease, heart attack, diabetes, and even some types of cancer. But beyond what the scale says, there’s another number you need to know: your BMI or body mass index.

Body mass index is calculated using your weight and height, and it can play an important role in understanding your weight-related health risks. Still, BMI only tells part of the story. 

Michael Sutker, MD, and our team help patients understand their BMI and other factors, tailoring a medical weight-loss plan aimed at helping every patient stay healthy. Here’s what your BMI says about your own personal health risks.

Why you should know your BMI

BMI is a basic “reference tool” to help assess whether or not you’re obese — and at increased risk for serious and even life-threatening medical conditions

To determine your BMI, the formula is: weight (lb) / [height (in)]2 x 703. A simpler option: Visit the CDC website for the built-in BMI calculator to determine your BMI.

Here’s what your number means:

As a quick reference, your BMI can give you a general indication of your weight-related health risks, so you can take important actions to lose extra weight if needed. For people who need to lose weight, Dr. Sutker offers medical weight-loss plans, along with weight-loss surgery to help patients reach their healthy weight goals.

BMI limitations

Still, while it’s important to know your BMI, it’s also important to understand its limitations. BMI alone can wind up overestimating or underestimating your true health risks, which is why it’s important to have a health evaluation by a weight-loss specialist like Dr. Sutker.

People who are very muscular may have higher BMIs, simply because muscle tissue weighs more than fat. Many physically fit athletes have high BMIs, even though they’re actually very healthy.

Similarly, older people can have lower BMIs, even though they may have an unhealthy amount of body fat. That’s because we tend to lose muscle tissue as we age, so even though we may weigh less, a lot of that weight could be excess fat.

Many medical experts recommend using BMI in combination with waist circumference as a more accurate measurement of health risks. Larger waist measurements are associated with an increased risk of many health issues, including cardiovascular problems. 

During your evaluation, Dr. Sutker will consider waist measurement, BMI, and other factors to determine your specific health risks.

Improve your weight, improve your health

BMI is one tool used in assessing your weight and your weight-related health risks. For a full evaluation — and to learn how we can help you shed unhealthy pounds — call one of our offices in Dallas or McKinney, Texas, or book an appointment online.

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