Weight and Health: Understanding Body Mass Index (BMI)

By on November 5, 2019

Reviewed By: Casey Seiden MS, RD, CDN, CDE

In everyday life, it’s common to get an idea of someone’s overall health by assessing their weight. That’s because weight is often an important number according to societal expectations. However, your weight can often be a misnomer. The truth is that your weight may look very different according to your height versus someone else of the same weight.

In medicine, we use an assessment of your weight using a metric called Body Mass Index. It’s a relationship between your weight and your height, and effectively gives you a target range of weight to aim for. So, for example, someone taller than you will have a comparatively healthier weight than someone shorter who has the same number on the scale. This means it’s important to understand the healthy range for you based on these factors.

How do I find my BMI?

Calculating your BMI (using any of the published charts and smart phone apps) is useful in helping to categorize different bodies as being underweight, being overweight, and obese. It can also help give you a reasonable range to aim for if you’re trying to gain or lose weight since it will take your height into account. Although a formula exists for calculating your BMI, it’s far easier to consult the chart below:

What if my BMI is outside the optimal range?

The best way to start assessing your health is through speaking with your gynecologist and our in-house nutritionist. Your BMI is not an end-all measurement of your health, so it’s important to assess your habits and long-term health with professional help. For example, a high BMI does not necessarily mean you’ll be subject to severe conditions like poor blood sugar control or high blood pressure. Conversely, a low BMI does not necessarily mean your health is ideal if you regularly experience factors like stress or poor diet. Although your BMI can be a good way to track progress and ensure your weight is within a healthy range, it doesn’t complete the picture of your overall lifestyle and tendency towards certain conditions.

Schedule an Appointment

It can be difficult to find the right numbers for a healthy weight and BMI, so partnering with our award-winning gynecologists can be a great first step. We also offer counseling with our nutritionist to ensure you have a healthy eating plan for optimizing your weight and lifestyle accordingly. To get started, contact our New York City office by calling or filling out our online form.

Maternal Fetal Medicine blogs are intended for educational purposes only and do not replace certified professional care. Medical conditions vary and change frequently. Please ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding your condition to receive a proper diagnosis or risk analysis. Thank you!

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