What exactly do Body Mass Index (BMI) and waist circumference mean? And what can your numbers tell you about your health? BMI is a screening tool used to identify a person's weight category and body fat percentage. It is measured by taking a person's weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters.
If your BMI is less than 18.5, it falls within the "underweight" category.
- This indicates that you are underweight and you may need to put on some weight. You are recommended to ask your doctor for advice.
If your BMI is 18.5<25.0, it falls within the "normal" category.
- This indicates you are at a healthy weight for your height. By maintaining a healthy weight, you lower your risk of developing serious health problems.
If your BMI is 25.0<30.0, it falls within the "overweight" category.
- This indicates you are slightly overweight. You may be advised to lose some weight for health reasons.
If your BMI is 30.0 or higher, it falls within the "obese" category.
- This indicates you are heavily overweight. You may be at serious health risk if you do not lose weight.
What is waist circumference?
Your waistline may be telling you that you have a higher risk of developing obesity-related conditions if you are:
A man whose waist circumference is more than 40 inches.
A non-pregnant women whose waist circumference is more than 35 inches.
Keep in mind: If you are a man with a waistline over 35 inches, or a woman with a waistline over 34 inches, you are four times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. And, if your waistline is 40 inches or greater, you are ten times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
Steps you can take to lower BMI and waist circumference
Evaluate your eating habits.
- Are you eating more than you need to at mealtime?
- Do you snack often between meals?
- Do you consume high-calorie soft drinks or sweetened juice beverages?
- Do you buy processed foods that are full of empty calories?
If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, then you'll have plenty of ways to cut calories from your diet.
- Start by cutting portion sizes when you eat a large meal.
- Once you're eating a healthy diet, increase your activity level to burn more calories all day.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator at work or go on a walk every evening after dinner.
- Ask your doctor or TargetCare provider for suggestions too!