Body-weight has been a hot debating topic for few years now. Last 20-30 years have seen the churn of times. New flashy cars, swanky restaurants, snazzy malls, amazing skyscrapers, fast-food chains, 24×7 news channels, colourful sources of entertainment, an increasing number of ‘Work hard and Party harder’-kind of people, so many changes have taken place, the life has become fast and furious. Our life-style has changed. And accordingly the advent of life-style diseases has taken place. We are so lost in our daily-routine and work and entertainment that we have become completely oblivious to our health. We eat anything and everything and further, we have become congenital untimely eaters. This all takes a toll on our health and the most apparent one is a regular increase in body-weight which invites so many diseases.
Keeping in line with the habitual fast pattern of life, today we want a fast check of our body-weight and then find recourse to BMI. Body Mass Index or Quetelet Index is a quantification of proportional body-weight based on a person’s body-weight or mass and height. Conceived and presented by the Belgian scholar Adolphe Quetelet, BMI is defined as a person’s body-mass divided by the square of his height. The resultant ratio is always presented in units of kg/m2.
BMI= Mass (kg)/Height (m)2
Hence, BMI throws a numeric evaluation and classification of a person’s size in terms of leanness or portliness. As per WHO, a BMI of 18.5 to 25 kg/m2 indicates ideal weight, lower than 18.5 shows someone under-weight, above 25 pronounces him over-weight and a BMI above 30 defines the person obese. Now this evaluation varies significantly from country to country which automatically creates doubts over the index. An obese somewhere might just be over-weight somewhere else. Secondly, should this BMI-value be considered for a conclusive medical analysis? Can doctors proceed with the medical assistance for under-weight or over-weight problems with a sole consideration of a person’s BMI-value? We know for the fact that the BMI-definition does not take into account the person’s sex, male or female. A man and a woman have different body-configurations. BMI does not consider the specific age of the concerned person. An adult of every age is judged on the same parameters. An old person generally loses his height to the age-old stature-problem and decreasing bone-density and his weight also should be judged according to his age. Moreover, BMI does not take into account the frame-size of a particular body. A person may have a small frame but may have more fat than normal and his BMI-value would indicate that he is a person of normal weight which is fallacious. On the other hand, a large-framed healthy person with less fat can be categorized as over-weight on the basis of BMI. Athletes or players have less fat but more muscles which contribute to their body-weight. So a BMI-value of an athlete may be misleading with respect to the real fact.
Therefore, whereas BMI does give a fair bit of indication of someone’s body-weight, it can’t be relied completely as a real marker of his health. But, yes, it gives some sort of a statistical trend of the body-weight of inactive and patently over-weight-individuals.