General Question

Just_Justine's avatar

What is a healthy BMI reading?

Asked by Just_Justine (6486points) March 31st, 2010

I thought it was 20 to 25 but someone corrected me and said it was 20 to 23?

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27 Answers

filmfann's avatar

Under 25. If you can get it in the teens, you’re pretty studly, or anorexic.

cytonic_horus's avatar

According to the NHS here in the UK they say 18.5 to 25 is healthy but I have seen other places say 20 to 25

RareDenver's avatar

@cytonic_horus if it’s good enough for the NHS it’s good enough for me.

cytonic_horus's avatar

@RareDenver yeah or maybe it means your BMI might be 18.5 when you come into hospital but by the time you leave we make sure it is 25

Ame_Evil's avatar

From the National Hear Lung and Blood Institute:

BMI Categories:

* Underweight = <18.5
* Normal weight = 18.5–24.9
* Overweight = 25–29.9
* Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater

I usually establish these sort of things by looking at graphs such as which give a much clearer view than just punching out a number that means nothing in itself.

RareDenver's avatar

@cytonic_horus if you’re British that’s healthy, if your American that’s anorexic, lol

MacBean's avatar

BMI is a crock. Use other methods to figure out how healthy you are (or aren’t).

Likeradar's avatar

This is an interesting photo gallery of people and their BMI reading.
BMI is generally a good way to determine appropriate weight, but it doesn’t take into account muscle mass.

Just_Justine's avatar

@Likeradar that is a bit scary as some of those people look normal to me and they are overweight, and the plump ones are obese and morbidly obese??

Fred931's avatar

@Just_Justine People with scrubs and stethoscopes may sometimes have body fat calipers. They use some sort of algebraic formula gathered from the readings on the device from certain areas of the body to come out with a ratio of body fat to entire body, which they convert for you into a %.

cytonic_horus's avatar

@Likeradar I just do not see the people classed as being overweight as being…well…overweight

Fred931's avatar

@Just_Justine The last time I had a doctor observe me with one of those, it came out at 4%. I am pretty darn skinny, but my parents say they were joking when they said, while I was at a younger age, I might have had a body-fat percentage of 2 or 3%.

gailcalled's avatar

Simply pinch yourself gently with thumb and forefinger at the waist line. It’s pretty self-explanatory.

MissAnthrope's avatar

I second the ‘BMI is a crock’.

jeanmay's avatar

If you generally feel listless, lie in bed all day and have no interest in life or the world around you, you may be underweight.

If you generally feel listless, lie in bed all day eating donuts and have no interest in life or the world around you, it might be an indication of morbid obesity.

Pandora's avatar

I agree with @filmfann and several others. Between 18 to 25. I find that at about 22 most people look pretty slim. It really depends on if you going for what looks great for your body structure or just to get rid of fat. Not everyone can carry off 18 without looking anorexic. At 18 you take the chance that illness can bring you down even lower. I say 22 or 23 is good because it will provide you with enough fat incase you get ill and need some fat to get you through. I had a friend who was about 18 and every little illness would result in her losing more weight and she would feel ill till she put some more weight on. Her doctors told her she needed to put on more weight because she was to frail at her current weight. She wasn’t a dieter. She naturally burned calories like crazy.

Likeradar's avatar

@Just_Justine I agree with you about many of the images. Some of them looked nicely fit but were classified as underweight, and some looked slightly chunky but were labeled obese. That’s why I linked to it, to show that BMI isn’t everything.
However, I also think Americans (I’m American, and I might be wrongly assuming you are too) are too used to seeing overweight people. Maybe we’ve lost track of what’s chubby and what’s actually thin since overweight is the new normal.

Just_Justine's avatar

@anlikeradarimen Yes that is so interesting. Probably your shape if that makes sense can determine whether you are healthy. I mean if you are of good shape, (in proportion) carry less middle fat or lower fat, you may be healthy despite having a higher BMI. I carry middle weight always have since I was a tot. Even during my anorexic phase I had middle weight. Also eating, lifestyle choices etc., all determine if you are healthy. I am just wondering then why health insurance companies put so much emphasis on BMI is it is so ridiculous as seen by those photo’s on that link .Food for thought.

Sophief's avatar

Under 25, but above 15.

mattbrowne's avatar

Even 26 is not too risky if most of the excessive fat isn’t belly fat and you get regular exercise. The BMI misses fat distribution. Belly fat is the riskiest.

Just_Justine's avatar

@mattbrowne you have such a good point there. I have belly fat. (As we all know by now loll) Not fair, I was predisposed. Because I do all the stuff I am supposed to do. Work out, (well not recently) low fat, low sodium, low sugar low bloody everything. My gran had a belly. I heard also insulin from stress can cause belly fat. Not sure though how it all works. Something to do with low GI all that.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Just_Justine – Well, recent research seems to indicate that the extreme combination of low fat and low carb might actually be counterproductive. It’s possible to lose weight applying a low-fat strategy but it’s harder. Most carbs will make you hungry again rather soon (exceptions are lentils, peas etc). Fat combined with protein won’t make you hungry so soon. What matters is the total energy count. A low-fat yogurt full of sugar is total nonsense.

One of the best strategies against belly fat is abdominal muscle training and a high-protein diet. Larger muscles will burn more calories.

filmfann's avatar

I ate a lot of bran, and took a healthy BMI.

gailcalled's avatar

@filmfann: Speaking of signal to noise ration ^^.

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