body mass index

Impact of Body Mass Index on the risk for Heart Diseases, Diabetes and Cancer

Body Mass Index (BMI) is used to estimate a person’s total amount of body fat. It is calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared (m2). It is one of the means to figure out if an individual is at a healthy weight for their height. In general, higher the number, the more body fat a person has. This helps to quantify the amount of tissue mass (muscle, fat, and bone) in an individual, and based on that value categorizes the person into following:

Underweight: BMI is less than 18.5

Normal weight: BMI is 18.5 to 24.9

Overweight: BMI is 25 to 29.9

Obese: BMI is 30 or more

The same groups apply to both men and women. BMI health calculator helps in finding out the category in which an individual fits into the above, while acting as a screening tool to decide if one’s weight might be putting one at risk for health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. They do have a greater impact on the public health issues by manifesting itself in premature death and disability, in health care costs, in lost productivity etc.

BMI and Diabetes:

As one’s body mass index scale value increases, one’s risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and hypertension rises steeply. Inter-Abdominal fat, has significant impact on the body’s metabolism. This fat affects body’s blood pressure, lipid levels and interferes with the body’s ability to use insulin effectively in turn affecting the blood sugar levels. Human body uses insulin to process glucose derived from food, which is the body’s primary fuel. If the body can’t use insulin properly one may develop diabetes, which is a risk factor of cardiovascular disease.

BMI and Heart Diseases:

Body weight is directly analogous to various cardiovascular risk factors. As BMI increases, it would have an influence on blood pressure, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar and inflammation. These in turn do impact the risk for heart diseases and stroke. Women do have a risk for heart diseases similar to men and they usually have more advanced disease and their prognosis are poorer. These cardiovascular diseases are responsible for 40% death of all deaths in women.

BMI and Cancer:

BMI is strongly associated with the risk for cancer. Excess body weight contributes to as many as 1 out of 5 of all cancer-related deaths. Risk for many cancers are clearly linked with body weight, which is complex and not yet fully understood. The timing of weight gain might also affect cancer risk. Being overweight during childhood and young adulthood might be more of a risk factor than gaining weight later in life for some cancers. Excess body weight may affect cancer risk through a number of mechanisms, some of which are as follows:

  • Immune system function and inflammation
  • Levels of certain hormones, such as insulin and estrogen
  • Factors that regulate cell growth, such as insulin-like growth factor-1
  • Proteins that influence how the body uses certain hormones, such as sex hormone binding globulin

Statistics show that 58% of diabetes and 21% of heart disease are attributable to a BMI above 21. Body weight contributes to every aspect of health, from shortening life and contributing to chronic conditions. Therefore, body mass index healthcare scale offers a definitive way for people to tell whether they are indeed at a healthy weight.