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Bachelor Science of Nutrition and Community Health

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BMI and Health Part II

Hello readers!

Come again to our topic on Body Mass Index (BMI). Previously we have calculated our own BMI but what does the number means?

The value obtained was the indicator of your body weight status. Let us refer to the table below and make comparison :

source: WHO (1998)

The above values are the standard weight status related with BMI of adults.

There are also value used for Asian. Why is there differences between the previous one? The World Health Organization (WHO) expert consultation had concluded that Asians generally have higher percentage of body fat than white people of the same age, sex and BMI. Therefore, there have been another suggestion used as references.

source: WHO / IASO / IOTF (2000)

You are underweight if your BMI is below 18.5 kg/m2. This means, your weight is too low for your height. Being underweight contributes to health damage including weakened immune system, fragile bones and easily feeling tired. As for women, underweight may disturb your menstruation which increases the risk of fertility problems.

What contributes to underweight?

  1. Being stress
  2. Your food intake always in smaller quantity compared to your active lifestyle. 
  3. Always trying to lose weight
  4. Always lost appetite/ unwell

If you are underweight, do not stress! Start work on getting ideal weight in healthy way by practicing healthy lifestyle. Ask your nutritionist or dietitian now!

Overweight and obese
World Health Organization (WHO), defines overweight and obese as having abnormal or excessive fat accumulation in one’s body. This condition will lead to impaired health including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancers (breast, colon, and endometrial) and musculoskeletal disorders.

What contributes to overweight and obese problems?

  1. Energy imbalance. If your food intake always exceed your physical activity level, this will lead to increase in body weight.
  2. High intake of energy-dense food (high in fat)
  3. Sedentary lifestyle
  4. Genetics. Genetic plays a role on determining how much fat your body can store and its storage location.
  5. Increase in age. As we aged, there will be hormonal changes and more sedentary lifestyle
  6. Lack of sleep. This results in hormonal changes which will increase your appetite and make you crave for foods

If you are overweight or obese, don't get disapointed! It is never too late to start healthy lifestyle and work on weight management. Ask nutritionist or dietitian on healthy menus to reduce weight. Don't forget about exercise. Exercise helps to burn down excess calories and fat. Most importantly, maintain exercise, eat healthily and don't give up!

1. WHO, E. C. (2004). Appropriate body-mass index for Asian populations and its implications for      policy and intervention strategies. Lancet363(9403), 157.

2. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). About adult BMI. Retrieved at December 9, 2015 from

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