The Body Mass Index is a measure that’s used by medical professionals to determine whether an individual has the ideal weight for their height. Based on their BMI value, individuals are classified into four different categories – underweight, normal weight, overweight, and obese. You can quickly compute your Body Mass Index using a dedicated online BMI calculator.
Now that you’re aware of what the Body Mass Index is, it is important to know the different factors that influence it. Here’s a quick look at a few of them.
1. Eating Habits
As far as Body Mass Index is concerned, one of the most influential factors is your eating habits. The average caloric requirement for a human is around 2,000 calories per day. Consuming more calories than necessary can lead to a spike in weight, which can lead to the BMI calculator classifying you as overweight or obese.
That’s not all. The quality of food that you eat also plays a huge role in determining your Body Mass Index. For instance, the intake of heavily processed foods can lead to a high BMI reading compared to the consumption of fresh vegetables and home-cooked food.
2. Activity Levels
The second most influential factor that affects your BMI is your activity levels. Very active individuals tend to fare better in BMI than people who lead very sedentary lifestyles. If you’re someone with a high BMI, consider increasing your activity levels.
There are a few small things that you can incorporate to keep your activity levels up. For instance, you could take the stairs instead of the lift or walk to the nearby grocery store instead of taking your vehicle.
Fitness experts and medical professionals recommend incorporating intense physical activity for at least 150 to 250 minutes per week to keep your weight and by extension your BMI in check.
3. Sleeping Pattern
If your BMI calculator shows that you’re either underweight or overweight despite eating well and being active, you might want to check if you’re getting a good night’s sleep. Long and restful sleep is essential to ensure that your body functions well. Ideally, you need to be getting around 6 to 8 hours of sleep each day consistently.
Sleeping for more than 9 hours or less than 6 hours can contribute to an unfavourable Body Mass Index. If you’re having trouble sleeping, consider visiting a sleep clinic or consulting a doctor to find out the cause and rectify the issue.
4. Lifestyle Habits
Smoking and consumption of alcohol are two lifestyle habits that can negatively impact your Body Mass Index. Alcohol consumption on a regular basis can lead to an increase in your body weight, leading to a high BMI. In addition to messing with your BMI, consumption of alcohol also has other negative effects such as high blood pressure due to the constriction of blood vessels.
Similarly, smoking frequently can speed up your metabolic rate and curb hunger, which can end up limiting your food intake. While you would technically lose weight as a result, if you’re already at the lower end of the scale as per the BMI calculator, you would be at risk of sliding down further into the underweight category.
There are a host of different drugs and medications that can affect your Body Mass Index. Insulin is one of the most prolific drugs that can lead to weight gain in many individuals due to it being a hormone.
Some of the other medications that can lead to you ranking high on the BMI scale are antipsychotic drugs, steroids, anti-allergens, and antihypertensive drugs. Unlike the other factors in this list, there’s very little that you can do to combat the effects of these drugs and prevent an increase in your BMI.
6. Prenatal Factors
Children of women who consume alcohol or smoke during pregnancy are likely to be classified as overweight according to the BMI calculator. Even malnourishment during early pregnancy stages can also lead to children becoming obese, developing high blood pressure and diabetes, and becoming resistant to insulin during later stages of their lives.
The above-mentioned factors are not the only ones affecting the Body Mass Index of an individual. There are other minor contributing factors like ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and environmental factors that also play a huge role in determining your BMI.
Now, if you find out that your Body Mass Index is less than ideal using a BMI calculator, seek professional help right away. More often than not, you will find that it can be rectified with just simple adjustments to your lifestyle.