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How Body Mass Index Works - Set Your Weight Loss Goals

Many people want to lose a few of those annoying pounds, but they just don't know where to start. If only there was some sort of guide that would help dieters to set goals. Body mass index, or BMI, creates an opportunity for weight loss enthusiasts to determine their ideal body weight in order to set their goals.

The index uses your body height and weight to determine problem areas in your weight. Underweight, normal, overweight, and obese are the categories the index uses for classification. The categories have their individual implications as regarded to health and wellbeing.

How is BMI Calculated?

BMI calculations use a simple formula that can be figured with a traditional calculator, or pen and paper for that matter. The body mass index formula = kg/m2. In layman's terms, your weight in kilograms is divided by your height in meters squared. The customary or English measurement formula = (lb/in2) x 703 or weight in pounds divided by height in inches squared all multiplied by 703. It's really not as complicated as it sounds. Try it for yourself.

Interpreting the Index - What it all Means

Your BMI calculation will produce an index somewhere between 14 and 30 or so. You will be categorized as follows:

Below 18.5 = Underweight

18.5 - 24.9 = Normal

25.0 - 29.9 = Overweight

30 and Above = Obese

Some BMI charts will break the categories down even further, but this table is the most common. Children's body mass index takes age and maturity into account.

The index for body mass was created to evaluate the level of risk associated with chronic health problems. There is a direct link to your BMI and certain serious health conditions, such as: heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol.

There are some drawbacks to body mass calculation as every person is different. Common sense should be used to evaluate the findings, even those who fall in the middle of a specified range of the index. Those with more athletic builds and leaner builds certainly need to understand the objectivity of BMI. Even though there is some grey area, body mass indexing is still quite useful.

Goal Setting and the Index

The index is useful on a variety of fronts, but the major application is weight control. Those with a low body weight should get it up into the normal range, as those with excessive weight should bring it down. Those that are on the cusp of the trouble areas can probably do well on their own, while those closer to the extreme should consult a medical doctor. Health professionals are well equipped to get you on the right program and give you the best advice for your individual situation.

If your plans are to begin some sort of diet and exercise routine, your ultimate goal should leave you in the normal range. Goal setting is important in weight loss as in many other arenas, but your body requires some special consideration. It's the only one you have.

An ideal weight goal is necessary to have, but if it is the only one, you may become discouraged with your progress. Setting and meeting intermediate goals give the inspiration that it takes to get to the next step. Fitness and weight loss don't happen overnight, no matter how hard you try. Taking measured steps with frequent evaluation ensures that you are making progress.

Robb Ksiazek is a successful author and publisher for He performs ongoing research on dieting, weight loss, and an overall healthy lifestyle incorporating mind, body, and soul. He strives to share this information for all to enjoy.


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