BMI has traditionally been used as a quick, non-invasive health assessment that provides an approximation of body fat and identifies potential health risk. BMI or Body Mass Index is a simple ratio of weight to height. It can be calculated either metrically or via U.S. conversion through the following equations:
Height (M) 2
Weight (Lbs) x 703
Height (In) 2
The results are interpreted as follows:
Normal Weight 18.5-24.9
You can also utilize the free online BMI Calculator on ACEfit.com. Enter your weight, height and select calculate. The program will do all the math for you and offer an interpretation of the results.
The BMI measurement however is not without interpretation limitations as it doesn’t account for variances in weight due to muscularity, frame size, water retention, fat distribution and bone density. Therefore, using BMI alone as a means of estimating body fat may pose some validity issues with individuals such as athletes, children, and the elderly. Often times we find it helpful to use other measures such as percent body fat and/or hip-to-waist ratios in conjunction with BMI measures to get a more comprehensive assessment.
Another tool offered on ACEfit.com is the Daily Caloric Needs Estimate Calculator which may offer you a starting point for determining the estimated number of calories needed to simply maintain your current body weight. Once you have that number, you can apply a standard weight loss formula to give you a better idea on a potential target to shoot for each day. The standard equation uses a formula of 3,500 calories equaling 1 pound. This means that in theory to lose 1 pound per week, you would need to create a deficit of approximately 500 calories each day below energy balance (the amount of calories it takes for you to remain at your current weight) either through food, exercise or ideally a combination of both; 500 calories x 7 days/week = 3500 calories (DHHS, 2005).
Seeking advice from your medical provider however is always a great place to start. Together you can decide on a plan of action, weight goals, and discuss the possibility of referring you to a Registered Dietitian who can help design a meal plan specific to your individual needs.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Assessing Your Weight: Adult BMI, http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/adult_bmi/#Interpreted
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS), AIM for a Healthy Weight, 2005; http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/obesity/aim_hwt.pdf