BMI measures body fat and helps prevent obesity. LIFE Centre, Department of Dietetics, Department of Physiotherapy at SGH explains how BMI is measured and the health complications of obesity.
Know where you stand
There are many ways to measure body fat, such as by waist circumference or waist-to-hip ratio.
But measuring one’s BMI, or body mass index, is the most popular way to do so. Many online calculators exist but you can calculate your BMI yourself using this formula:
WEIGHT in kilograms / HEIGHT2 in metres
For example, if you’re 65 kg and 1.70m tall, the formula is: 65 / (1.70 x 1.70) = 22.5
In Asians, a BMI of more than 27.5 is considered obese. In Western countries, a person is defined as obese if he or she has a BMI of more than 30.
BMI values apply to both men and women, regardless of age or frame size.
Health complications linked to excess weight
While a couple of extra pounds do not pose a health risk for most people, being overweight or obese can lead to the development of weight-related health problems.
"Those with a higher BMI are more likely to be plagued by medical conditions like hypertension (or high blood pressure), diabetes, heart attack and stroke,” says
Dr Tan Hong Chang, Consultant at the
LIFE Centre, Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the
SingHealth group. “There are also physical complications like joint pain, difficulty in keeping up with physical activities and obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA).”
These health problems can affect the quality of life and more importantly lead to a reduced life expectancy. Psychologically, a person’s mood and self-esteem might also be affected.
The LIFE Centre at Singapore General Hospital (SGH) has a multidisciplinary team of experts who can provide you with guidance on weight management, exercise and diet.
See previous page for
5 simple ways to maintain a healthy weight.