This is how you measure your body mass index and what it really is.
Do you normally check your body weight and don’t know what to do with the numbers on the machine? Then, you need to know how to make use of what we call the Body Mass Index (BMI).
Recently, a friend told me that he usually checks his weight and the only thing he is worried about is weighing above 70 kilograms. When I asked him why, he did not have a clear reason.
“I simply love knowing my weight. But I was told it’s normal if one weighs 70kgs,’’ he said. Well, knowing the weight doesn’t mean anything if you can’t interpret what it means.
If you are like my friend, try knowing this: Divide your weight in kilograms (kgs) by your height in metres (m), then divide the answer by your height (m) again. What you get is called the BMI.
BMI can tell you a lot of things about your health. Normal BMI ranges between 18.5 and less than 25. That below 18.5 means being underweight and that above 25 means you are overweight, while that over 30 is being obese.
If you take your measurements today and realise that your BMI is more than 25, it means that you are at risk of suffering from diseases like diabetes, hypertension, stroke, aching knees and legs and so on.
Such diseases have become highly prevalent in Tanzania in both rural and urban societies.
Tanzania’s current Demographic and Health Survey (TDHS) shows that overweight and obese women fall in the 15-45 age brackets in Dar es Salaam. And this trend has increased by 8 per cent over a decade.
Surveys have also found that more than 20 per cent of women in the same age group, were overweight in the regions of Mbeya and Morogoro, Kilimanjaro as well as Arusha, Pwani and Iringa.
But then, we are also seeing the problem in most other regions of Tanzania mainland.
For children below 5 years of age, the surveys indicated that for every 100 children, 6 children were overweight. However, there are more children who have been found to be stunted compared to those who are obese.
Urban school children are not any better off. Some studies have shown that 17 to 22 per cent of school children in the ages of 6-14 years in Dar es Salaam are overweight or obese.
This is not supposed to happen in Tanzania because, being overweight is simply a result of consuming more food than what one’s body can burn as energy.
And that is why regular physical exercises are highly encouraged on a daily basis to burn the calories we feed on.