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Body weight is a difficult conversation with so many young people (boys & girls) due to poor relationships with food and their bodies most likely caused by the media. If you have any negative thoughts about your body when discussing weight than this article may not be for you. However, if you want to learn and use your weight as a tool, and see how you can use it to reduce risk factors then follow along.

What is BMI?

BMI stands for Body Mass Index.

It is a tool is commonly used by Dietitians and Health Practitioners as a means of putting people into categories based on their weight and health risks.

How does it work?

You take your mass (weight) in kg and divide it by your height in meters (squared)

The equation should look like this:

Once you get your BMI your number should fall into one of these categories:

When would BMI not be accurate?

BMI would not be considered accurate if used on someone who is pregnant as they are obviously carrying much more weight than they would normally be. It would also be considered inaccurate for someone with high levels of muscle like a body builder or an extreme weightlifter. This brings me to the main reason why practitioners should not rely on BMI alone as it does not take into account body composition! Someone could have a low body weight for their height but be extremely unhealthy or someone could have a very high muscle composition for their height and this has no way of telling that.

When would BMI be accurate?

BMI would be accurate as a generic measurement for the majority of the population to assess their overall risk factors.


What is Waist Circumference?

This is another tool used by Practitioners to identify possible health risks that come from overweight and obesity.

How do I do it?

You can place a tape measure around your middle area just above your hips and measure your waist as you exhale.

What does it mean?

It means that if you carry most of your wait around your waist (apple shaped body type) rather than at your hips (pear shaped body type) you are at a higher risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

According to the CDC...

Your waistline may be telling you that you have a higher risk of developing obesity-related conditions if you are:

  • A man whose waist circumference is more than 40 inches

  • A non-pregnant woman whose waist circumference is more than 35 inches


The reason why these numbers are important is that there are health risks that come with being overweight and obese. Here is a list from the National Institute of Health.

My overall opinion:

These numbers may be used as a screening tool for overall health risks but are not a true determinant of someone's health as they do not take into account weight distribution. Use within reason but not for the only measure of your health.



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What is a Registered Dietitian?

A food and nutrition expert who can work in a wide variety of employment settings, including health care, business and industry, community/public health, education, research, government agencies and private practice. RDNs are accredited health professionals that must meet state and government regulations to maintain their credential in addition to completing continuing education. RDNs can practice something called Medical Nutrition Therapy to improve the health of those who suffer from chronic diseases. 

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