The acronym BMI stands for the body mass index. It is designed to assess the risks associated with being overweight and obesity in adults. The criteria for its interpretation are provided by the 'World Health Organization’, and it is important to emphasize the statistical significance, especially in the case of athletes or the elderly. The BMI does not in fact provide information on the distribution of body fat and does not distinguish between fat and lean mass, so some results may not describe the situation correctly. An athlete, for example, could have a very high BMI but in reference to a developed muscle mass and not to the presence of excess adipose tissue.
How does the BMI work?
Diagnosing obesity also uses the body mass index. BMI is determined through a simple calculation. It requires two sets of data, the weight and height of the individual. One proceeds by dividing the weight in kilograms (kg) by height squared in meters (m).
The results are classified as follows:
Less than 18.5 = underweight
18.5 to 24.9 = normal weight
25 to 29.9 = overweight
30 and over – obesity
40 and over = extreme obesity