When you go to the doctor, you probably hear about something called your BMI, or body mass index. You might know that it has to do with your weight. But what does it mean, how is it calculated, and why is it important?
At Bergen Bariatric and Surgical Solutions P.C., we can help you with weight issues, especially those that might require bariatric surgery. Dr. Mikhail A. Botvinov is happy to discuss your needs and weight loss goals to determine the best treatment for you going forward.
The history of the BMI
BMI is the calculation of the person’s weight divided by their squared height. This calculation is quite simple, but people who don’t know its history often misconstrue it.
The BMI was once called the Quetelet Index, named for Dr. Lambert Adolphe Jacque Quetelet. Quetelet was a statistician and astronomer living in the early 1800s, considered the father of social averages. He used this concept to create the Quetelet Index, hoping to simulate a bell-shaped graph that showed the use of mathematics in predicting weight-to-height ratios.
Over time, the BMI was adopted into medicine and health insurance programs as a way to determine overall health risk. Those with a higher BMI have a higher chance of developing certain conditions, which is why it became a good indicator of health for these groups. Today, it is used to determine the presence of high body fat and related possible health risks.
Why your BMI is important
It can be hard to step on the scale at the doctor’s office, especially if you’re not sure of your current weight before you do. But keeping track of your weight — and BMI — is important to your current, future, and overall health.
For one, it allows you to be aware of certain health conditions for which you may be more at risk. Obesity increases your risk of developing preventable diseases, such as
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease
- Hypertension (or high blood pressure)
- Heart disease
Other conditions can also be associated with obesity. For example, some mental disorders can often be comorbid with obesity, as can certain cancers. Knowing your BMI can help you be aware of your risk of these conditions so you can work actively to prevent them.
Another important aspect of knowing your BMI is that you can track your weight gain over time. If you notice it’s significant, it may be necessary to get testing done to determine if another condition might be causing your weight gain.
Finally, knowing your BMI can help you decide if it might be time to lose weight. There are, of course, options for losing weight naturally, but what if you can’t do so? Or what if your risk has become so great that you need to lose weight much more quickly?
In this case, your BMI might be able to alert you to the need for bariatric surgery. If you can discuss an increased or significantly high BMI that could be putting you in danger of health risks, you may find you are a great candidate for this treatment.
Want to learn more about bariatric surgery?
Simply call to make an appointment at our Westwood, NJ, office. Our number is 201-778-5344, or you can visit us online to make an appointment at your convenience.