What is a BMI index and why is it important for your health? BMI stands for Body Mass Index and is a number that is calculated based on a person's weight and height. This number can help a person understand how much fat is on the body and how this may cause other weight category disease.

BMI and healthy weight,What's Obese,what should I weigh?Calculating BMI is found differently for adults and children. A healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9 for adults and children but the calculation differs slightly based on age, weight, and height. As a physical therapist I have patients ask me what the difference is between obese and morbidly obese. A person is considered obese if the BMI is 30 or higher, and morbidly obese begins at a BMI of 40. That's a weight of about 235 for a person who is 5 feet 4 inches tall and a weight of about 280 for a person 5 feet 10 inches tall.

Health care providers use these numbers to let patients know if they are at risk for other health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease which are all considered "weight category" diseases. 

When the BMI is 25 to 30 a person is just considered overweight and research shows that people that are made aware of these numbers have a much easier time getting their BMI under control and avoid the major health risks associated with obesity.

Ask your doctor what your BMI is and what it should be. The internet has very simple calculators that ask for height and weight and give you your BMI. If you find that your number is higher than it should be speak to your doctor about a way to lower it. Seek out a Physical Therapist for a healthy exercise plan.

Contributed by Krista Magnoli, PTA @ The Physical Therapy Center in West Palm Beach, FLorida.