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The body mass index, known as the BMI, is a calculation that helps your health-care team figure out if you're at an appropriate weight for your frame. If it's too high -- 30 or above -- your risk of chronic diseases drastically goes up. You'll need to sit down with your physician and get your weight under control to help reduce your chances of having problems down the line.
Normal vs. Overweight or Obese
If you're at a proper weight for your height, your body mass index should fall somewhere between 18.5 and 24.9, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises. But if it's 25.0 to 29.9, it could mean you're overweight. The problem with having a BMI of 30 or higher is that your doctor will most likely classify you as obese. Once you're in this category, your weight is much too high, dramatically upping risk factors associated with long-term conditions -- you'll have to take swift action.
Why It's Bad
Having a BMI of 30 means that you'll probably have high blood pressure, increased cholesterol and atherosclerosis, if you don't already have these problems. Over time, these risk factors can lead to a heart attack, stroke, kidney disease or gallbladder disease. You might also have high blood sugar -- leading to Type 2 diabetes -- sleep apnea, osteoarthritis and an increased chance of developing certain cancers, including uterine, ovarian, colon and breast cancers, MayoClinic.com reports.
Being obese doesn't only impact your physical self; it also affects your mental state. You could have a poor body image, increasing your chances of feeling depressed. Plus, you may feel uncomfortable in social settings or unable to participate in activities, further adding to your emotional state. Depending on the severity of your weight problem, you could find it difficult to engage in sexual activities or you might be in chronic pain. Because the way you feel and the way you view yourself are just as important as your physical health, your physician will want to help you put together a weight-loss plan and exercise regiment to suit your abilities.
Crunching the Numbers
You only need two pieces of information to calculate your BMI: Your height and your weight. Grab a calculator and divide your weight in pounds by your height in inches squared, and multiply the answer by 703. As an example, if you stand 68 inches tall and weigh 200 pounds, divide 200 by 4,624, which is 68 squared. Then multiply the result of 0.043 by 703. In this case, your BMI is 30.4.