Stats Control: 9 Reasons Every Woman Should Know Her BMI

Knowing your BMI is a great tool for knowing how to plan your diet and exercise. Here are 10 reasons why BMI for women is key knowledge to have.

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People spend a lot of money and time trying to get fit and feel healthy. But BMI for women may be the key to solving this seemingly elusive paradox. BMI = body mass index. You’ve probably heard about BMI before, but chances are you don’t know what it is, how to calculate it, and why it’s important. Let’s start with the basics. BMI is a calculation of your body fat based on your height and weight. So if you know your height and weight (and be honest, no shaving off a few pounds to make yourself feel better) you can figure out your BMI using a calculator that does the math for you. So, what does this number mean? If your BMI is too high it indicates that you are overweight or obese, and if it is too low then you are considered underweight. If you’re in the recommended range of 18.5 to 24.9 then you are of a normal, healthy weight.

According to the World Heart Federation, “If you are a woman, a BMI greater than 21 may adversely affect your heart’s health.  If your BMI is more than 30, you are obese and at serious risk of cardiovascular disease. If your BMI is below 18.5 your are probably underweight.” That said, it is not foolproof. BMI for women does not take into account muscle build, meaning that if you two women weigh the same amount but one woman is a fitness professional and the other woman is out of shape, their BMIs will be the same even though that athletic female may have very little body fat. Bottom line: BMI is not a perfect science but it is a great way to assess your body fat compared to the rest of the population so that you can be sure you are in a healthy range and are not at risk for several serious health complications. Here are 10 reasons (which are really just body health tips) why every woman should know her BMI.

1. To Assess Your Weight

Feet on a scale as part of the process of knowing your BMI

While BMI is not a perfect way to measure your health (BMI does not directly assess your fat because muscle is denser than fat), it is a pretty good predictor of your body fat levels and how your body compares to the larger population. Again, it has its flaws, but finding out your BMI is easy, free and a good start to achieving a healthy weight and healthy lifestyle.

2. To Reduce Sleep Apnea

Nine percent of overweight women get sleep apnea, which is a serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. It is not exclusive to those who are overweight, though being overweight is a big risk factor, and the heavier you are, the more at risk you are.

3. To Prevent Headaches


You know those pesky headaches you get all the time? They might be because you skipped your morning cup of coffee or because you are dehydrated. But they might also be because you are overweight. Obese women have a 30 percent higher risk of developing chronic headaches.

4. To Protect Your Eyes

If you didn’t know that your weight and your eye health are related, you’re not alone. We were shocked to hear that our BMI has any connection to our eyes, but truth be told, there’s a relationship. Women who are obese are at a higher risk of developing eye diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts. Beyond BMI, and we know it sounds obvious, but staying in a healthy weight zone is one of the most important body health tips we have for you.

5. To Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease


Perhaps the most common side effects of being overweight and having a high BMI (BMI of over 25) is the risk of heart disease. People who are considered obese are at a higher risk (the risk doubles!) of developing coronary heart disease, arrhythmia, heart failure, heart attack, high cholesterol and a stroke.

6.  Keep Your Kidneys Healthy

Gaining weight (typically 11-18 pounds) can increase your risk of kidney related diseases, namely Type 2 diabetes. While research suggests that obesity is not the sole cause of diabetes, being overweight (and having a high BMI) “puts added pressure on the body’s ability to properly control blood sugar using insulin and therefore makes it much more likely for you to develop diabetes.”

7. To Relieve Arthritis

The initials of IMC in English

Arthritis might be one of the least commonly known side-effects of obesity, but being highly overweight and having a high BMI can sometimes raise the risk of getting arthritis and other joint diseases. And even if it doesn’t cause your arthritis in the first place, it can absolutely worsen your symptoms. While 1 in 5 Americans has arthritis, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains, “that number jumps to more than 1 in 3 among obese people—and 2 out of 3 Americans are either overweight or obese.”

8. If you are Postmenopausal, to Prevent Breast Cancer

Studies show that “Women who are overweight or obese after menopause have a 30 to 60 percent higher breast cancer risk than those who are lean.” This is not to say that any woman who is overweight after menopause will get breast cancer, or on the flip side, that any woman who is lean will not. But anything that has the ability to increase your risk as significantly as 60 percent needs to be addressed. And the first step is to know your BMI so you can act accordingly to protect yourself.

9. To Prevent Complications During Pregnancy

A woman at a health check-up with her doctor

If you are pregnant or hope to become pregnant, it’s important that you are healthy so you can provide a healthy home for your baby. There are several risks associated with obesity including gestational diabetes, preeclampsia (high blood pressure and protein in the urine), labor problems (the epidural may not work or you may need to be induced) and an overdue pregnancy, among others. As anyone who has ever been pregnant knows, there’s enough to worry about, you don’t need more reasons to stress about potential health problems.

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