Body mass index (BMI) is a measurement used to determine if someone's weight is in a healthy range, or if it is in the underweight, overweight or obese category. It is used mostly for adults between 18 and 65 years of age. Research has shown that BMI strongly correlates with various diseases. Because obesity is a major risk factor for both heart disease and diabetes, it is very important for South Asian adults and children to try to be in the healthy weight range.
What does the BMI value mean?
The following BMI categories are typically used for adult men and women:
18.5 to 24.9 - Healthy 25 to 29.9 - Overweight 30 and above - Obese
HOWEVER, recent research indicates that these values are not appropriate for use in the South Asian population. South Asians tend to have more abdominal obesity (they store more fat around their stomach area), which significantly increases the risk for diabetes and heart disease. Even a little excess weight can increase the risk of a South Asian individual developing these complications. Because of that, a modified BMI scale has been created specifically for this population:
18.5 to 22.9 - Healthy 23 to 27.4 - Overweight 27.5 and above - Obese
South Asian adults should strive to be within the healthy BMI range, between 18.5 to 22.9. Learn how to calculate your BMI to find out what level you are at.