When you want a quick snapshot of your health, calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI), a fairly reliable indicator of body fat based on your height and weight.
BMI is used to screen for weight issues that can lead to health problems, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). But although measuring BMI is a simple and inexpensive way to determine if you are underweight or overweight, it is only one tool. Jazzercise founder and CEO Judi Sheppard Missett reminds us that only your doctor can determine conclusively if your weight puts you at risk for health problems.
Calculating Your BMI
The simplest way to calculate your Body Mass Index is to find a BMI calculator online such as the one on the CDC’s website located at: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/. Choose either adult or child, enter your height and weight then press “Calculate.”
To manually calculate your BMI, divide your weight in pounds by your height in inches squared; then multiply by 703.
For example, the BMI of a person 5 feet, 5 inches tall who weights 150 lbs is figured as follows:
[150 ÷ (65)2] x 703 = 24.96
A healthy BMI score is between 18.5 and 24.9. A score below 18.5 indicates that you may be underweight; a value of 25 and higher indicates that you may be overweight. If your BMI is 30 or higher, you are medically obese.
Variations exist among highly trained athletes, who may have high BMI readings because of their muscularity; women, who tend to have more body fat than men; and older people, who on average, have more body fat than younger adults.
Results are just a starting point for medical professionals, as BMI is only one factor in assessing health. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute guidelines recommend also looking at a person’s waist circumference (because abdominal fat is a predictor of risk for obesity-related diseases), and other risk factors including high blood pressure or physical inactivity.
If you are concerned about your weight, check your BMI and also visit with your doctor about reducing fats in your diet, beginning a regular fitness program, and refocusing yourself on a healthier lifestyle.
Judi Sheppard Missett, who turned her love of jazz dance into a worldwide dance exercise phenomenon, founded the Jazzercise dance fitness program in 1969. She has advanced the business opportunities of women and men in the fitness industry by growing the program into an international franchise business that today, hosts a network of 7,800 instructors teaching more than 32,000 classes weekly in 32 countries.
The workout program, which offers a fusion of jazz dance, resistance training, Pilates, yoga, cardio box and Latin style movements, has positively affected millions of people worldwide. Benefits include increased cardiovascular endurance, strength, and flexibility, as well as an overall "feel good" factor. Additional Jazzercise programs include Junior Jazzercise, Jazzercise Lite and Personal Touch. For more information on Jazzercise go to jazzercise.com or call (800)FIT-IS-IT or (760)476-1750.