What’s your Body Mass Index (BMI)? Learn how to calculate your BMI and maintain a healthy weight to keep health problems at bay.
We have all heard of the Body Mass Index (BMI), but what does a high BMI mean? To start off, calculate your BMI with the following formula:
BMI = weight / height2 (kg/m2)
If your BMI is between 18.5 to 22.9 kg/m2, that's great – you have a healthy BMI.
BMI screens for weight categories that may lead to increased risk of health problems, but it does not diagnose the body fatness or health of an individual. Body Mass Index is one of the many useful tools individuals can use to track their health.
A BMI ranging from 23.0 to 27.4 kg/m2 however puts you at moderate risk for health problems, while a BMI at 27.5 kg/m2 and above means you're at high risk for weight-related health problems such as:
Like all things, the BMI has exceptions as well. So fret not if you are pregnant, have a muscular build or are below 18 years of age; the above BMI ranges don't apply to you.
Related: BMI Calculator
There is no short-cut to achieving a healthy BMI range,
Taking steps to make sustainable changes to your eating and exercise habits can help you with healthy weight management.
Related: What is a Healthy Weight?
Ever wondered what your body does with the nasi lemak you just had for lunch?
Our body uses energy by burning calories from carbohydrates, protein and fat from the food we consume. When we consistently consume more calories per day than the amount burnt during physical activities and basic metabolic activities, we tend to gain weight; the reverse is true as well.
Now you know: the key to a balanced height-and-weight proportion is to strike an energy balance.
Related: An Introduction to Calories
Food high in saturated and trans fat, sodium and sugar are the perpetrators of your weight gain. Substitute them for healthier choices that are lower in fat (e.g. lean meat, low-fat dairy products), lower or no sugar (e.g. unsweetened beverages, fresh fruits), and higher in fibre (e.g. whole-meal bread, brown rice). Look out for alternatives that are lower in calories. Try opting for chicken porridge next time instead of paying your nasi lemak makcik a visit!
Related: Important Nutrients: What Should You Eat More Of?
Smaller portions, lesser calories. Exercise moderation when spreading peanut butter on your bread. Reduce your meal sizes by consuming ¾ of your usual, or try sharing your food with friends. Sharing is caring, right? Eating less also means spending less on food. Either way, it's a win-win situation.
Related: How Much to Eat? Perfecting Portions
Trade 30 minutes of your sedentary time every day for some moderate-intensity aerobic physical activities such as brisk walking, swimming or cycling. You'll become the fittest in town by meeting the recommended minimum
150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity weekly. If you're just starting out, accumulating shorter bouts of 10-minute exercise is a good start too.
If you have existing medical conditions, play safe and consult your doctor before embarking on a new exercise programme.
Related: How to Lose Weight the Healthy Way
Be realistic – binging on free, good food at a party is sometimes unavoidable (and irresistible, I know). It's okay to let loose occasionally; a day of extra calories would not lead to immediate weight gain. Maintaining a healthy weight and active lifestyle does pay off in the long run.
To get back on track, you can consume smaller or healthier meals before or after your special event. Increasing your exercise duration (e.g. jogging for an extra 15 minutes) will help you offset the extra calories too. After all, you've fed yourself enough to fuel a tougher workout.
Related: Energy Balance – the Only Diet that Works
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This article was last reviewed on
22 Nov 2023
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