If you’ve ever had to step on a scale (begrudgingly) at the doctor’s office, you know that based on that scale’s number, the following conversation with your doctor may be about your body mass index (BMI).
For many years, as my age and weight increased, I wanted to hear less and less about this number. Not only did I already know that I had gained more than a few pounds, I was also very aware that my numbers (A1C, BMI, etc.) probably weren’t where they needed to be.
And honestly, I didn’t want to hear it! Luckily, my A1C surprised me. It was great. But my BMI could be better.
BMI is divided into these categories:
- Underweight = Less than 18.5 BMI
- Normal Weight = 18.5 to 24.9 BMI
- Overweight = 25 to 29.9 BMI
- Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater
So why get your BMI checked? Because for most people, it can provide a baseline for predicting the likelihood of developing serious illnesses in the future. We’re talking type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain types of cancer, just to name a few.
Reba Karr, our quality improvement coordinator, says, “There’s not a lot any of us can do to change our height, gender, or age. But even a modest weight loss, between 5% and 10% of your current body weight, can have a strong impact on overall health. If you combined calorie reduction with a gradual increase in exercise, such as walking, you can enhance the improvement more rapidly.”
The next time you see your doctor, have them check your BMI just to start the conversation about specific actions you could be taking to improve it. You can also visit our health and wellness resources for more info on weight management.
Breck Obermeyer is a community liaison with Health Alliance Northwest, serving Yakima County. She is a small-town girl from Naches and has a great husband who can fix anything and 2 kids who are her world.