When you live in the Information age, ignorance is no longer considered bliss. It is a crime. This is especially true where your health is concerned. Now, fundamental information you need to stay healthy, such as tips on the right kinds of food to eat, exercise basics and the like are literally right at your fingertips. They are a click away.

One such crucial piece of info that you need to know about is BMI. It stands for Body Mass Index. Invented by Adolph Quetelet, a Belgian, sometime between1830 to 1850, BMI is now widely used to determine the amount of body fat a person has by using his or her weight and height. Also known as the Quetelet index after its inventor, your BMI tells if you are underweight, overweight or obese and is a pretty good indicator of the risk you face for certain obesity-related diseases. The higher your BMI, the nearer you are to heart and vascular diseases, hypertension, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers.

For adults, you can simply calculate your BMI by using the following formula:

MASS IN KILOGRAMS / (HEIGHT IN METERS)2 = BMI

That is, you can get your BMI by dividing your mass in kilograms by the square of your height in meters. To make this clear for you, let's do a little math. Let's say your weight is 60 kilograms and your height is 1.8 meters. Your equation would then be:

60 kg / (1.8) 2 = 18.52

Your BMI is 18.52. How do you interpret the figures you get? Check out the table below:

BMI WHAT IT MEANS

Below 18.5 UNDERWEIGHT

18.5-24.9 NORMAL

25.0-29.9 OVERWEIGHT

30.0 and above OBESE

Obviously, you have to strive for a BMI within the normal range. Now, if you have at least 2 risk factors for heart disease which include hypertension, high LDL (bad) cholesterol, low HDL (good cholesterol), high triglycerides, high blood sugar, a family history of premature heart disease, physical inactivity and smoking, and have BMI values that fall within the "overweight" and "obese" categories, you have some health issues to deal with. It is highly recommended that you lower your risk for developing obesity-related diseases mentioned above by losing weight. If you are simply overweight and have 0 or 1 of the risk factors mentioned, all you might need to do is prevent weight gain rather than lose weight, provided that you do not have a high waist measurement. On the other end of the spectrum, if you are underweight, that could suggest that you are either malnourished, have an eating disorder or some other medical condition. In all cases, it is imperative that you visit your doctor who will give you the proper diagnosis and recommend a diet and exercise plan to suit your needs.

Know your BMI and stay healthy!

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Author's Bio:

Happily married mother of 2 beautiful children, fitness enthusiast, and traveler extraordinaire.