So you’ve heard of BMI, and now you’re curious as to where you fall on the scale. Hold on! There’s a lot more to BMI than just a number. In order to understand what the number means, you’ll need some background on a host of material, ranging from what BMI is to how to lower it to the limitations of BMI as an indicator of health. Follow along as we get into all of this and more, examining BMI holistically and teaching you how to calculate your own BMI.
What is BMI
BMI is an abbreviation for body mass index. Body mass index is used as a general indicator of whether someone’s weight is adequate or if they are perhaps over or underweight for their height. BMI is calculated using a person’s weight and the square of their height. BMI, however, has shortcomings as an indicator of general health. Body mass index does not take into account the amount of LBM or lean body mass (muscle tissue) that a person has, just overall body weight. Consequently, many athletes have a BMI that would indicate that they’re obese when they are, in fact, extremely healthy individuals but with a greater than average amount of lean body mass, which raises their overall weight, thus skewing the measurement. Additionally, body mass index tends to be a less reliable indicator of general health with respect to people of shorter height.
How to Calculate BMI
Body mass index is calculated by taking your body mass in kilograms and dividing it by the square of your height in meters. For simplicity’s sake, let’s say you weigh 100 kilograms and are 2 meters tall. Your BMI with these numbers is 100/2*2=25. You have a BMI of 25, which is considered overweight. Next, we’ll review the specific BMI ranges and what they mean.
There are a few different body mass index ranges that indicate different things, medically speaking. Keep in mind that BMI is not a holistic indicator of general health and that it has its limitations for various body types.
18.5 or Below – This indicates that you are underweight.
18.5 to 24.9 – This indicates that you are a normal weight.
25 to 29.9 – This indicates that you are overweight but not obese.
30+ – This indicates that you are obese.
Pros and Cons of BMI
There are, of course, various advantages and disadvantages to BMI as a measurement. We will go over some of them here.
- Generally accurate
- Easy to calculate
- No need for specialized equipment
- Does not account for lean body mass
- Not specific to health risk factors
There are several alternatives to BMI as a general indicator of health and body composition. These alternatives include waist circumference as well as caliper-derived body fat percentage.
Simply measuring your waist circumference can be an adequate substitute for body mass index, as a waist measurement above a specific size is strongly correlated to obesity, diabetes, CVD, and the many other risk factors of being severely overweight. This avoids the lean body mass bias of BMI, as lean body mass generally does not increase waist circumference.
Caliper Derived Bodyfat Percentage
This is when you take a pair of medical calipers and measure out a skinfold body fat test on yourself to calculate your overall body fat percentage. This has the advantage of directly quantifying the main harmful result of obesity and the state of being overweight, which is to say excess body fat.
How to Lower BMI
Body mass index can be lowered by losing body fat. There are several ways to lose body fat which we will list below.
Diet & Exercise
The traditional way of losing weight is the most effective and obvious. Eating less and exercising more is a proven way to lose body fat. Energy balance is the balance of how much energy, in terms of food, a person takes in and how much energy they expend through exercise and normal bodily function. If you have a negative energy balance, meaning you eat less than you expend each day, you will inevitably lose body fat. Though it can be challenging, this is the most reliable way to treat obesity, and almost every other treatment method depends on dietary and exercise changes to facilitate or maintain.
The root causes of obesity behaviorally can be psychological or even the result of mental illness. For this reason, therapy is a way to address obesity. There is a condition known as binge eating disorder, not to mention that many obese individuals have a problem with their relationship with food, often engaging in what is called “comfort eating.” These are genuine causes of obesity, and proper psychological care in the form of therapy is a way to address them.
These are a class of anti-diabetes medications that serve to reduce appetite and facilitate greater weight loss hormonally. GLP-1 agonist medications such as semaglutide can reduce appetite in obese people by imitating GLP-1, the hormone responsible for feeling full and thereby making weight loss through calorie restriction easier for the individual. A person will be less hungry on this medication, though they will still have to adjust their eating and exercise habits to lose body fat effectively. However, unless the eating issue is purely psychological, this will make losing weight far easier.
This is a surgical procedure in which the stomach and intestines are physically manipulated to be smaller or absorb fewer nutrients, facilitating weight loss. This is typically a last resort as it is an invasive surgery, and it is reserved only for those whose obesity is already causing them adverse health effects. There are a variety of types of bariatric surgery. However, all of them require a future adjustment in diet and activity level in order to maintain the weight loss achieved by the procedure.
This is a revolutionary medical procedure pioneered by Emerald Laser. In this procedure, a laser is used to bore a hole in your individual fat cells, allowing the lipids to seep out of them and be excreted by the lymphatic system. This is an FDA-approved and reliable way to lose body fat that is less invasive than bariatric surgery. It does not require dietary changes to work, although it requires nutritional changes to maintain the weight loss achieved. This is a good alternative to consider before bariatric surgery as it is minimally invasive.
How Emerald Laser Can Help Patients With a BMI of 30+
Laser lipolysis also referred to as “laser lipo,” involves the application of a low-intensity laser. Lasers can generate singular-directional light and heat to a minimal area. With laser lipo, the technician will target the cell with the laser. The laser penetrates the skin, reaches the targeted fat cells, and bores a tiny pore into the cellular membrane. In addition to creating a small hole, the laser emulsifies (melts) the lipids inside the cell, which allows them to seep through the pore. The body’s lymphatic system then naturally disposes of the lipids. Emerald Laser by Erchonia works differently from other laser lipolysis methods. Emerald’s system uses ten 532 nanometer lasers to target fat cells. While the system allows the cells to drain, they remain intact. Other laser systems destroy the fat cells, which can lead to fatty deposits developing in other areas of the body. Additionally, Emerald Laser is relatively painless when compared to other laser systems. Most patients don’t feel anything at all.
Why You Should Offer Laser Lipolysis Treatment
Laser lipolysis is a minimally invasive weight loss method that targets body fat exclusively. It is innovative and relatively new, and it is a way for you to offer a service that is not yet widely available. Laser lipolysis by Emerald Laser is the first FDA-approved laser lipolysis process. Offering this treatment would allow you to corner the market for laser fat reduction in your area.
Why Choose Emerald Laser by Erchonia
Even if you’re sold on laser lipolysis, it’s important to recognize that all laser lipolysis processes are different. The Emerald Laser method has several significant features that other laser lipo processes don’t:
- Emerald Laser is relatively painless when compared to other laser systems.
- Emerald is the only laser system approved by the FDA for individuals with a BMI over 30.
- Erchonia is a pioneer in the medical fat reduction industry. They received the first FDA market clearance for a body fat reduction laser. Since that time, Erchonia has received multiple FDA market clearances.
- With packages ranging from $1,500 to $2,500, Emerald is one of the most cost-effective weight loss systems on the market.