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The Mackie Report 

Demystifying Body Mass Index

In my introductory column, I’m going to discuss the science of body mass index (BMI): what it is, how it is calculated, and what it means to you individually. In my recently published book LoseYour Love Handles, I cover this subject in depth with easy-to-read charts and information.

  BMI is the standard used to measure obesity. The formula for calculating your BMI is: your weight in kilograms divided by your height in meters squared.

  Unless you’re an athlete, a BMI below 20 may mean you’re too thin. Those with BMI of 20 to 22 tend to enjoy a longer life with fewer incidences of serious illness, and 22 to 25 also is in the range of good health. People with a BMI of 25 to 30 are at increased risk for health problems, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, some types of cancer and stroke. A BMI of 30 and up definitely increases risks for those diseases.

  BMI is not infallible; there are extenuating factors that may alter the significance of the numbers, such as an individual’s physical condition. An exceptionally well-conditioned person may have a high BMI for his weight but far more muscle mass than excess fat. That’s why there are other measurements, such as percent of total body fat and waist circumference, which reflects stored abdominal fat, which need to be evaluated for an accurate BMI.

  What do you do to correct and inflated BMI? First, adopt a proper eating plan as well as a physical fitness program that includes resistance exercises and cardio training. Limit your intake of foods and beverages with a high glycemic index, which can aid recovery after exercise or athletic events. Foods with high glycemic levels normally have a higher sugar content and tend to break down quickly in the body, which may add excess body fat to those who don’t exercise regularly. Included are most soft drinks, commercially produced candy bars, cookies and other simple sugars. In Lose Your Love Handles, I list foods that are good and those that are not so glycemically acceptable.

  One of the best things you can do for personal fitness is aerobic walking — work up with medical approval to 45 minutes a day. To help lose unwanted abdominal fat, try resistance routines and pelvic stabilization exercises in addition to the low-gylcemic foods and aerobic walking.

Mackie Shilstone is the executive director of the Mackie Shilstone Center for Performance Enhancement and Lifestyles Management at Elmwood Fitness Center (a division of the Ochsner Clinic). He can be reached at (504) 842-9110 or on his website www.mackieshilstone.com. The Mackie Shilstone Show can be heard Monday through Friday on WSMB radio, 1350 AM, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

CALCULATING YOUR BODY MASS INDEX

To make it easier to calculate your BMI, use this table, matching your height and weight to reach your body mass index.

Wgt. 120 130 140 150 160

Hgt.

5'3" 21 23 25 27 28

5'4" 21 22 24 26 28

5'5" 20 22 23 25 27

5'6" 19 21 23 24 26

5'7" 19 20 22 24 25

5'8" 18 20 21 23 24

5'9" 18 19 21 22 24

5'10" 17 19 20 22 23

5'11" 17 18 20 21 22

6'0" 16 18 19 20 22

6'1" 16 17 19 20 21

6'2" 15 17 18 19 21

6'3" 15 16 18 19 20

6'4" 15 16 17 18 20

6'5" 14 15 17 18 19

6'6" 14 15 16 17 19

Wgt. 170 180 190 200 210

Hgt.

5'3" 30 32 34 36 37

5'4" 29 31 33 34 36

5'5" 28 30 32 33 37

5'6" 27 28 31 32 34

5'7" 27 28 30 31 33

5'8" 26 27 29 30 32

5'9" 25 27 28 30 31

5'10" 24 26 27 29 30

5'11" 24 25 27 28 29

6'0" 23 24 26 27 29

6'1" 22 24 25 26 28

6'2" 22 23 24 26 27

6'3" 21 23 24 25 26

6'4" 21 22 23 24 26

6'5" 20 21 23 24 25

6'6" 20 21 22 23 24

Wgt. 220 230 240 250 260

Hgt.

5'3" 39 41 43 44 46

5'4" 38 40 41 43 45

5'5" 38 38 40 42 43

5'6" 36 37 39 40 42

5'7" 35 36 38 39 41

5'8" 34 35 37 38 40

5'9" 33 34 36 37 38

5'10" 32 33 35 36 37

5'11" 31 32 34 35 36

6'0" 30 31 33 34 35

6'1" 29 30 32 33 34

6'2" 28 30 31 32 33

6'3" 28 29 30 31 33

6'4" 27 28 29 30 32

6'5" 26 27 29 30 31

6'6" 25 27 28 29 30

Wgt. 270 280 290 300

Hgt.

5'3" 48 50 51 53

5'4" 46 48 50 52

5'5" 45 47 48 50

5'6" 44 45 47 49

5'7" 42 44 46 47

5'8" 41 43 44 46

5'9" 40 41 43 44

5'10" 39 40 42 43

5'11" 38 39 41 42

6'0" 37 38 39 41

6'1" 36 37 38 40

6'2" 35 36 37 39

6'3" 34 35 36 38

6'4" 33 34 35 37

6'5" 32 33 34 36

6'6" 31 32 34 35

click to enlarge feat-2048.jpeg
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