How To Use BMI To Prevent Heart Disease?

BMI stands for body mass index. It is a surrogate measure of the amount of fat in the body. It is widely used as a good indicator of body fat, and it is easy and convenient to use without incurring high costs.

Using sophisticated methods to measure body fat requires highly trained personnel and expensive equipment. Moreover, these methods are not suitable in most clinical or home situations.

To find out your BMI, you just need a weight scale, a measuring tape and a calculator. Is not it simple? The formula used to calculate BMI is:

BMI (kg / m2) = (weight in kg) / height in meter x height in meter

It should suit most people, except for those who are very muscular (such as body builders) and pregnant women.

Asians face a high risk of developing high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, high blood lipids, and diabetes even while they have relatively low levels of BMI. These risk factors can in turn lead to disease such as heart attack or stroke if they are not detected and treated early.

After examining the data from some 10 Asian countries, WHO (World Health Organization) recommended the BMI levels for Asians to be redefined according to their risk levels instead of weight categories. The usual BMI defined by WHO is in accordance to weight categories:

– Obese (BMI 30 and above);

– Overweight (25 – 29.9);

– Healthy range (18.5 – 24.9);

– Underweight (below 18.5).

Asians with BMI:

– 27.5 and above are at high risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes;

– 23 to 27.4 are at moderate risk of developing the above disease;

– 18.5 to 22.9 are at low risk of developing the above disease;

– Below 18.5 are at risk of developing nutritional deficiency disease and osteoporosis.

Therefore, high BMI and low BMI are equally undesirable.

For Asians, if their BMI exceeds 23 kg / m2, they should consult their doctors immediately for screening for cardiac risk factors, especially if they are related to someone in their family who has heart disease or diabetes. They should also aim to improve their fitness and lower their health risks.

The following steps may help achieve a healthy weight:

– Set a realistic weight goal.

– Target to lose no more than 0.5 to 1 kg a week.

– Reduce your calorie intake.

– Include regular physical activity as part of your lifestyle.

– Avoid slimming pills, drugs and teas except under medical supervision.

It may be useful if one can consult a doctor, a qualified dietician, or a certified fitness instructor, who can help customize a suitable weight management program.