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Wellness & Mindfulness

How to calculate your BMI (and use it to understand your weight) 

question many dieticians and fitness experts get is “what BMI is healthy for my age?”.  The thing with BMI is that your age doesn’t matter nearly as much as your height and weight. Learn about your Body Mass Index in the article below, with tips on how to calculate it, what’s considered a healthy BMI and how you can use it to manage (and own) your weight.

What is your Body Mass Index (BMI)?

The Body Mass Index (BMI) is an attempt to classify weight categories using a person’s height and weight. It helps people to understand their own weight range and what is considered a healthy, normal weight. The BMI weight categories are as follows:

Underweight      — under 18.5
Normal Weight  — 18.5 – 24.9
Overweight         — 25 – 29.9
Obese                    — 30 – 34.4
Morbidly Obese — 35+

The BMI is considered an ‘indrect but fairly reliable indicator of body fat in most people’ according to Very Well Fit.

How do you calculate your BMI?

Your BMI is calculated by multiplying your height by itself, and then then dividing your weight by that number. So my height is 1.7m and my weight is 61kg. The formula in my case would look like this:

1.7 × 1.7 = 2.89
61 ÷ 2.89 = 21

My Body Mass Index is 21, indicating I am within a normal weight range.

The equation is weight divided by (height-squared): W ÷ (H²)

In practice: What can you do with this information?

The Pick ‘n Pay website has an excellent BMI information page, complete with a BMI calculator, which you can access by clicking on the link below. They have also outlined information on the three broad weight categories: underweight, healthy weight, and overweight/obesity:


Being underweight can cause a poor nutritional status, which increases the risk of infection. Speak to your doctor about any sudden unexplained weight loss. A well-balanced high-energy eating plan is essential to improve nutrient intake and support healthy weight gain.

  • Plan your meals around the carbohydrates, protein and fat is the first step to ensuring a healthy, balanced eating plan.
  • Fruit and vegetables are excellent sources of vitamins, minerals and other protective substances in plants. A minimum of five servings of fruits and vegetables should be included in your diet every day.
  • Eat small nutritious meals or snacks every two hours. Include plenty of fruit-juice, vegetable soups and yoghurt as these are easy to digest. Meal replacements are an easy, quick way to obtain nutrients and can be used instead of a meal or as a snack.

Healthy weight

Congratulations! Following a healthy diet improves your energy levels, helps you reach an ideal body weight, manages medical conditions and prevent diseases, such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes later in life. So eating well is a worth-while investment!

  • The great news is that there are no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ foods, which means that healthy eating doesn’t need to be boring or bland. All foods can be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet, if we apply three key elements: balance, variety and moderation.
  • Eat plenty of vegetables and fruit every day. Veggies and fruit are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre, which are all essential for optimal health.
  • If you drink alcohol, drink sensibly. The current recommendation for alcohol is no more than one standard drink per day for women and no more than two standard drinks per day for men.

Overweight / obese

Excess weight has serious health consequences. It increases our risk of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnoea and some types of cancer. But these conditions are significantly improved with a weight loss of as little as 5% to 10% (even if the person is still considerably overweight).

  • Balancing your diet for weight loss involves planning a variety of foods from each of the following food groups.
  • Drink lots of water every day. Being just slightly dehydrated may be misinterpreted as hunger.
  • Be active!

Go to : Pick ‘n Pay’s BMI calculator

Understanding your BMI helps you to understand more about your body and how your weight works. True healthy weight is not about how you look in your bikini – it’s about your health. A healthy weight is one which has a body mass index of between 18.5 and 25. over and above that, you should strongly consider speaking to a health and nutrition specialist.

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