Body Mass Index is used to calculate body fat and helps in gauging risk of diseases that can occur due to high body fat. BMI is based on measurement of weight and height that tells whether your weight is healthy or not. If your BMI is higher it means you are overweight or obese. A BMI of 25 to 29.5 is considered overweight and above 30 or above is considered obese.
If your BMI is high it means higher your risk for certain diseases like heart diseases, certain cancers, breathing problems and high blood pressure due to high body fat. A higher BMI increases risk for health problems related to weight gain and you need to look for how to lower BMI.
Very high BMI causes obesity which is major cause of number of diseases. According to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 70 percent of adults are overweight or obese.
High BMI and Health Risks
High BMI is responsible for number of health risks. High BMI means more fat deposition in your body that result in more diseases. It causes number of health issues like stroke, diabetes, cancers and heart problems.
· High BMI affects your quality of life. It destroys your sleep quality makes you feel tired and inactive throughout your day.
· It affects your brain health. According to an observational study published in Journal Neurology a person having BMI over 30 and more belly fat has lower brain volumes. Body weight is actually associated with brain health.
· Obese people have health problems like high blood pressure and high cholesterol that leads to anxiety and depression.
· The National Cancer Institute notes that cancers are associated with higher body fat. Cancers can be pancreatic, ovarian, thyroid, breast, kidney or other types.
As we know that higher BMI is responsible for health problems so it is very important to know that what are the factors that contribute toward higher BMI
Why your BMI is high?
Limitation of BMI is that it works by using just two factors one is weight and other is height. There are number of other factors that contribute in evaluating health status of a person. Just taking height and weight in account and deciding someone’s healthy or unhealthy weight is obviously not satisfactory. So there are some reasons including these limitations that make your BMI high
· High muscle mass causes high BMI
An athlete or body builder is often considered overweight or obese according to their higher BMI calculations. Fitness level is overlooked in BMI calculations. A muscular man has more muscle mass as muscle is denser and heavier than fat so it makes his BMI higher.
But his weight is healthy regarding his fitness but according to BMI calculations his body weight is unhealthy, and he is overweight or obese. Higher muscle mass composition does not make you overweight or obese because it is fat and not muscle which is unhealthy.
· Height can be responsible for high BMI
BMI calculations are not acceptable when height is considered. BMI calculations are obtained by dividing a person’s weight by square of his height. According to Nick Trefethen , a professor at Oxford University, Square of height in BMI calculations exaggerates weight in tall people making them feel fat and under exaggerates weight in short people making them feel thin. So more height can also be reason for higher BMI.
· Unhealthy Eating habits
Your eating habits play a major role in your weight. Consuming unhealthy food like junk foods and foods with unnecessary sugars increase your BMI and obviously you will fall in overweight and obese category. Eating without having appetite and consumption of unhealthy food leads toward higher BMI.
· Absence of Leptin
Leptin is the hormone that controls appetite by sending signals to brain to eat less. If due to some reason leptin is not produced in your body this control is lost and you will eat without having any control that will cause obesity resulting higher BMI.
· Diseases and Medications
Some diseases and certain medicines can also cause obesity. If a person is suffering with syndromes like Cushing syndrome or Prader- Willi syndrome or disease like Arthritis causes lack of physical activity that result in weight gain.
Some medications for diseases like diabetes, depression and steroids can also cause obesity.
The major reason behind higher BMI or Obesity is lack of physical activity in our daily life. Inactive lifestyle without doing any exercise or workout gradually causes weight gain and obesity. Moderate physical activity every day is very important to maintain our weight.
Inherited factors and genes play a vital role in your BMI. According to studies of genome wide association 50 genes are associated with obesity. Genes control the signals sent by brain to the body guiding form food intake. Changes in these genes cause loss of this control.
Inheritance patterns in family due to mutation in single gene are also responsible for obesity. This gene is MC4R that encodes melanocortin 4 receptor.
Due to anatomical, structural and body compositional changes with age body mass index also gets high. It becomes more difficult to maintain weight with age. Onward age 30 stature declines faster in women than men. Decline in stature is also responsible for increase in BMI with age.
According to studies body fat content in non exercising women at age of 17 to 20 years with BMI 25 increased from 30 percent to 36 percent for those ages 40 years or older. With age lean body mass also decreases. So aging is responsible for higher BMI as well.
So these are the factors that can be responsible for your high BMI. But this is also very important to know how to lower your BMI because high BMI is not indicator of good health as due to high body fat your body can suffer a number of diseases.
How you can lower your BMI?
It is really very important to maintain your BMI and waistline measurements to avoid risk of serious diseases and cancers. In order to maintain healthy wait you have to bring changes in your lifestyle and you have to adopt healthy eating habits with moderate physical activity. You can lower your BMI by
Any kind of physical activity is really very important if you want to keep yourself fit and lower your BMI. 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise is recommended per week. It is important to burn calories and keep yourself active by doing any kind of workout. You can start with simple exercises and then gradually go with challenging yourself with difficult ones.
Nutrition and meal planning
Diet plays very important role in your healthy or unhealthy weight. Healthy nutritional intake is really very important for maintaining healthy weight. You have to choose a healthy diet you can stick with at least during your weight loss journey.
You have to plan your meals with restricting high calories food and eating healthy food stuff. You have to add more fruits, vegetables and proteins to your diet. You have to avoid unnecessary sugars and processed carbohydrates. Just by bringing change in your meals and nutrition you will see decrease in your BMI.
Consult a counselor
Some people have problems like emotional eating where they eat huge amount of food to deal with their emotions. In such cases they need counseling from professionals who will help them to deal with such issues and guide them how to monitor their diet and stop their food cravings.
Avoid sugar and salt
Sugar is a sweet poison that is a major cause of weight gain and obesity. You should consume sugar only in recommended amounts. You should not consume more than 12 teaspoons of sugar a day. Avoid adding sugars to your tea or coffee. Try not to have more than a glass of fruit juice a day because fruit juices are very high in sugars. Try to consume raw fruits with less sugar content.
Avoid salt as well because salt causes water retention and bloating. Instead of salt use herbs and spices in your food.
Set realistic goal
If you set an unrealistic weight loss goal then you are going to suffer at the end. If you wish to lose more than one to two pounds a week or 20 pounds a month you are definitely setting an unrealistic goal.
People start working on such unrealistic goals by following fad diets that work for short time but takes a toll on person’s mental and physical health in long run. You have to be realistic and should follow a healthy lifestyle to achieve your goal.
Hydration is very important step in healthy weight loss. According to a recent study drinking 500 ml of water a day increases 30 percent of metabolic rate. Water has thermogenic property that aids in weight loss. Drinking water before your meals also makes you eat less. Plain water may be boring for you so you can fill your water bottle with water and you can add lemon, mint and cucumber to it to enjoy better taste.
It is possible to lower BMI by taking two key steps: starting on a healthy diet and increasing physical activity. However, it must also be kept in mind that BMI is not the exclusive indicator of health and you could be perfectly healthy even with a raised BMI in certain situation where BMI can be a wrong predictor of health and overweight status.