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    About Adult BMI

    BMI can be used as a screening tool but is not diagnostic of the body fatness or health of an individual. Learn more.

    About Adult BMI

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    Adult BMI Calculator

    Body mass index (BMI) is a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters. BMI is an inexpensive and easy screening method for weight category—underweight, healthy weight, overweight, and obesity.

    BMI does not measure body fat directly, but BMI is moderately correlated with more direct measures of body fat 1,2,3. Furthermore, BMI appears to be as strongly correlated with various metabolic and disease outcome as are these more direct measures of body fatness 4,5,6,7,8,9.

    How is BMI used?

    BMI can be a screening tool, but it does not diagnose the body fatness or health of an individual. To determine if BMI is a health risk, a healthcare provider performs further assessments. Such assessments include skinfold thickness measurements, evaluations of diet, physical activity, and family history10.

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    What are the BMI trends for adults in the United States?

    The prevalence of adult BMI greater than or equal to 30 kg/m2 (obese status) has greatly increased since the 1970s. Recently, however, this trend has leveled off, except for older women. Obesity has continued to increase in adult women who are age 60 years and older.

    To learn more about the trends of adult obesity, visit Adult Obesity Facts.

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    Why is BMI used to measure overweight and obesity?

    Because calculation requires only height and weight, BMI is an inexpensive and easy tool. To see the formula based on either kilograms and meters or pounds and inches, visit How is BMI calculated?

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    What are other ways to assess excess body fatness besides BMI?

    Other methods to measure body fatness include skinfold thickness measurements (with calipers), underwater weighing, bioelectrical impedance, dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA), and isotope dilution 1,2,3. However, these methods are not always readily available, and they are either expensive or need to be conducted by highly trained personnel. Furthermore, many of these methods can be difficult to standardize across observers or machines, complicating comparisons across studies and time periods.

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    How is BMI calculated?

    BMI is calculated the same way for both adults and children. The calculation is based on the following formulas:

    BMI is calculated the same way for both adults and children. The calculation is based on the following formulas:

    Measurement Units Formula and Calculation

    Kilograms and meters (or centimeters) Formula: weight (kg) / [height (m)]2

    With the metric system, the formula for BMI is weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared. Because height is commonly measured in centimeters, divide height in centimeters by 100 to obtain height in meters.

    Example: Weight = 68 kg, Height = 165 cm (1.65 m)

    Calculation: 68 ÷ (1.65)2 = 24.98

    Pounds and inches Formula: weight (lb) / [height (in)]2 x 703

    Calculate BMI by dividing weight in pounds (lbs) by height in inches (in) squared and multiplying by a conversion factor of 703.

    Example: Weight = 150 lbs, Height = 5’5″ (65″)

    Calculation: [150 ÷ (65)2] x 703 = 24.96

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    How is BMI interpreted for adults?

    For adults 20 years old and older, BMI is interpreted using standard weight status categories. These categories are the same for men and women of all body types and ages.

    The standard weight status categories associated with BMI ranges for adults are shown in the following table.

    BMI Weight Status

    Below 18.5 Underweight

    18.5 – 24.9 Healthy Weight

    25.0 – 29.9 Overweight

    30.0 and Above Obesity

    For example, here are the weight ranges, the corresponding BMI ranges, and the weight status categories for a person who is 5′ 9″.

    For example, here are the weight ranges, the corresponding BMI ranges, and the weight status categories for a person who is 5′ 9″.

    Height Weight Range BMI Weight Status

    5′ 9″ 124 lbs or less Below 18.5 Underweight

    125 lbs to 168 lbs 18.5 to 24.9 Healthy Weight

    169 lbs to 202 lbs 25.0 to 29.9 Overweight

    203 lbs or more 30 or higher Obesity

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    For children and teens, the interpretation of BMI depends upon age and sex. For more information about interpretation for children and teens, read – What is a BMI percentile and how is it interpreted?

    Is BMI interpreted the same way for children and teens as it is for adults?

    BMI is interpreted differently for children and teens, even though it is calculated using the same formula as adult BMI. Children and teen’s BMI need to be age and sex-specific because the amount of body fat changes with age and the amount of body fat differs between girls and boys. The CDC BMI-for-age growth charts take into account these differences and visually show BMI as a percentile ranking. These percentiles were determined using representative data of the US population of 2- to 19-year-olds that was collected in various surveys from 1963-65 to 1988-9411.

    Source : www.cdc.gov

    Why Use BMI?

    Body Mass Index Is a Good Gauge of Body Fat The most basic definition of overweight and obesity is having too much body fat-so much so that it “presents a risk to …

    Why Use BMI?

    Body Mass Index Is a Good Gauge of Body Fat

    The most basic definition of overweight and obesity is having too much body fat-so much so that it “presents a risk to health.” (1) A reliable way to determine whether a person has too much body fat is to calculate the ratio of their weight to their height squared. This ratio, called the body mass index (BMI), accounts for the fact that taller people have more tissue than shorter people, and so they tend to weigh more.

    You can calculate BMI on your own, or use an online calculator such as this one, by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

    BMI is not a perfect measure, because it does not directly assess body fat. Muscle and bone are denser than fat, so an athlete or muscular person may have a high BMI, yet not have too much fat. But most people are not athletes, and for most people, BMI is a very good gauge of their level of body fat.

    Research has shown that BMI is strongly correlated with the gold-standard methods for measuring body fat. (2) And it is an easy way for clinicians to screen who might be at greater risk of health problems due to their weight. (3,4)

    Healthy BMI in Adults

    The World Health Organization (WHO) states that for adults, the healthy range for BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9.

    Overweight is defined as a body mass index of 25 to 29.9, and obesity is defined as a body mass index of 30 or higher. (1) These BMI cut points in adults are the same for men and women, regardless of their age.

    Worldwide, an estimated 1.5 billion adults over the age of 20-about 34 percent of the world’s adult population-are overweight or obese. (5) By 2030, this is expected to rise to more than 3 billion people. (6)

    For clinical and research purposes, obesity is divided into three categories: Class I (30-34.9), Class II (35-39.9) and Class III (?40). (7) With the growth of extreme obesity, researchers and clinicians have further divided Class III into super-obesity (BMI 50-59) and super-super obesity (BMI?60).

    Risk of developing health problems, including several chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes, rises progressively for BMIs above 21. (7) So does the risk of dying early. (8, 9) There’s also evidence that at a given BMI, the risk of disease is higher in some ethnic groups than others.

    Weight Gain in Adulthood Increases Disease Risk

    In adults, weight gain usually means adding more body fat, not more muscle. Weight gain in adulthood increases disease risk even for people whose BMI remains in the normal range.

    In the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, for example, middle-aged women and men who gained 11 to 22 pounds after age 20 were up to three times more likely to develop heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and gallstones than those who gained five pounds or fewer.

    Those who gained more than 22 pounds had an even larger risk of developing these diseases. (10–14)

    A more recent analysis of Nurses’ Health Study data found that adult weight gain-even after menopause-can increase the risk of postmenopausal breast cancer. (15)

    Healthy BMI in Children and Adolescents

    It is normal for children to have different amounts of body fat at different ages, and for girls and boys to have different amounts of body fat. (16) So in children and teens, the healthy range for BMI varies based on age and gender.

    In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed standard growth charts for boys and girls ages 2-20 that show the distribution of BMI values at each age. By the CDC’s definition, a child whose BMI falls between the 85th and 94th percentile for age and gender is considered overweight. A child whose BMI is at the 95th percentile or higher for age is considered obese.

    In 2006, the WHO developed international growth standards for children from birth to age 5, using healthy breast fed infants as the norm; (17) in 2007, the WHO extended those standards to develop growth charts for children ages 5 to 19. (18) Breastfed infants tend to gain weight more slowly than formula fed infants after 3 months of age, so the WHO growth standards have lower cut points for underweight and overweight to reflect this difference. The CDC now recommends using modified versions of the WHO growth standards for all children from birth to age 2. (19) The International Obesity Task Force has also developed its own cut points for childhood overweight and obesity. (20) At different ages, these criteria give somewhat different estimates of overweight and obesity prevalence. (Read more about the dueling definitions of childhood overweight and obesity.)

    BMI vs. Waist Circumference: Which Is Better at Predicting Disease Risk?

    Body fat location is also important-and could be a better indicator of disease risk than the amount body fat.

    Fat that accumulates around the waist and chest (what’s called abdominal adiposity) may be more dangerous for long-term health than fat that accumulates around the hips and thighs. (21)

    Some researchers have argued that BMI should be discarded in favor of measures such as waist circumference. (22) However, this is unlikely to happen given that BMI is easier to measure, has a long history of use-and most important, does an excellent job of predicting disease risk.

    Source : www.hsph.harvard.edu

    Body Mass Index (BMI): A Screening Tool Analysis

    Body mass index (BMI), a measurement based on a person’s height and weight, allows the classification of individuals into categories such as obese or overweight. With these classifications, we can assess risk for hypertension, diabetes, cancer, ...

    Cureus. 2022 Feb; 14(2): e22119.

    Published online 2022 Feb 11. doi: 10.7759/cureus.22119

    PMCID: PMC8920809 PMID: 35308730

    Body Mass Index (BMI): A Screening Tool Analysis

    Monitoring Editor: Alexander Muacevic and John R Adler

    Deepesh Khanna,1 Cadynce Peltzer,1 Payal Kahar,2 and Mayur S Parmar1

    Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer

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    Body mass index (BMI), a measurement based on a person’s height and weight, allows the classification of individuals into categories such as obese or overweight. With these classifications, we can assess risk for hypertension, diabetes, cancer, hypercholesterolemia, and other chronic diseases. Furthermore, childhood BMI serves as a prediction method for health and disease later in life. Along with BMI, researchers also study waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio in correlation with the above-mentioned chronic illnesses. This brief review explores the associations between body mass index, waist circumference, and the waist-hip ratio as measurements and their capability as predictors for persistent conditions like diabetes and hypertension.

    Keywords: health predictor, childhood obesity, muscle mass, waist hip ratio, mortality, hypercholesterolemia, waist circumference, diabetes, hypertension, body mass index: bmi

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    Introduction and background

    Obesity is a major public health crisis in the United States [1]. More than two-thirds of the U.S. population is either overweight or obese [2,3]. Body mass index (BMI) is one of the ways to measure obesity in the population. Other ways to measure obesity include the waist-to-hip ratio, the percentage of the body or visceral fat, and waist circumference [4]. Body mass index (BMI) can be calculated via mathematical operations where height and weight values are used to estimate the health status of a person [5]. BMI as a measurement is typically used to gauge the risk of developing chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, depression, and cancer [4-8]. The BMI calculation will fall within a numerical range, which places an individual into one of four categories. This data is used by researchers and physicians to educate patients and the public of potential health risks detected within a specified category [9]. Researchers continue to evaluate the correlation between BMI and long-standing illness as well as associations between waist circumference as a predictor of health [10]. Expansion to this research dives into the association of childhood BMI as childhood obesity is also on the rise [11]. This review is markedly concise yet highlights the importance of BMI as a screening tool for chronic disease and mortality and briefly introduces the idea of childhood BMI as a tool for predicting disease later in life. While BMI is seemingly a good indicator for studying correlation with chronic disease, the measurement tool does not come without limitations, as discussed in this review.

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    Methods of literature review

    Scientific journal articles published in relation to BMI and distributed from 1994 to 2019 were uncovered through a PubMed database search and from various article references. The search term ‘body mass index’ was utilized, and the reported inquiry uncovered 30 articles that depict the connection between BMI and other metabolic conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and disease-related mortality. Furthermore, the search resulted in articles regarding the relationship between BMI, waist circumference, waist-hip ratio, youth BMI as a wellbeing indicator, and limitations of BMI as a health evaluation tool. Considering the evidence presented by previous research, the affiliation between BMI and chronic disease variables can be extrapolated to the general population.

    Results and discussion

    BMI and Diabetes

    A U.S. study conducted by Chan et al. [12] evaluated 51,529 males ranging from 40-75 years old who work in healthcare. The research revealed that those with a BMI greater than 35 kg/m2 had an increased risk of developing type II diabetes compared to those with BMI’s lower than 23 kg/m2. While this research upholds the claim that obesity increases the risk for disease, it is significant to consider the relevance of the data considering it was collected more than two decades ago (1994). More recently, researchers have studied whether these outcomes are universal and comparable on a global and racial scale.

    Another study, based in Turkey, evaluated diabetes risk factors in 26,499 individuals, where regional analysis was completed and spanned North, South, East, West, and Central regions [13]. Additionally, the analysis was grouped with data considering family history, family size, age, education, waist circumference, BMI, hypertension, smoking, and the number of meals eaten per day. Across all demographics studied, an increase in waist circumference by one standard deviation also increased the likelihood of a new diabetes diagnosis by 1.16-fold. By the same measures, the male cohort resulted in a 1.28-fold increase in the likelihood that the individual will also have a new diagnosis for diabetes.

    Similarly, Satman et al. determined that BMI is a notable measure of diabetes risk [13]. This research states that an increase in BMI by one standard deviation (5.9kg/m2) results in an increased probability for type II diabetes by 1.16 for men and 1.09 for women.

    Source : www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

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