Your doctor knows your number; your insurance company might know your number. But do you know what your BMI is, and why you should care?
A BMI, or Body Mass Index, is a number derived from your height and weight. A BMI of 20-24.9 is considered normal weight, 25-29.9 is considered overweight, and 30 or above is considered obesity. If you are curious, go here to figure your BMI at the National Institutes of Health web site. They have a number of links for helping you work on a healthier weight, too.
Insurance companies in this area are starting to key in on participants’ BMI, and are offering those with a BMI of 30 or above various weight loss programs, such as Weight Watchers and a pedometer program. The incentive to do either of these is lower co-pays for insurance-covered benefits.
So why does a BMI of 30 or more matter? Because that’s the point that a person is more likely to have trouble with blood pressure, blood sugar, heart disease, joint pain, etc.
Even though the BMI is an indicator of potential health issues, there are problems with using BMI as the only indicator. For example, a person who is very fit yet very muscular (such as athletes and those with very physical jobs) may have a BMI of 30, yet have no health problems. To get a true fitness and health reading, you would need to have your waist-to-hip measurement, your percent body fat, oxygen capacity, and other measures taken. For now, we are stuck with being graded by our BMI.
If you have a BMI of over 30 and would like to get going on a pedometer program on your own, here is a place to learn more, from the people at About.com.