How to work out your BMI

This Morning: Dr Zoe demonstrates BMI indicator with string

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If a BMI calculator finds your BMI is outside of the healthy range for your height and weight, you should talk to your doctor before making any drastic changes to your diet or the amount of physical activity you do. There is speculation that people with a high BMI will be asked to come forward and have the Covid vaccine soon, amid fears they are in further danger from coronavirus.

Extreme obesity has been identified by experts as one of the key health risks in relation to the virus.

Complications and fatalities are understood to be disproportionately high among those who are seriously overweight.

People aged 16 to 65 with a BMI of more than 40 are in priority group six, meaning they will be prioritised for the vaccine ahead of healthy over-60s.

Previous data from more than 16,000 patients across 166 UK hospitals revealed carrying a lot of weight, old age and being male all raise the risk of dying from Covid.

GP Dr Ann Donnelly said: “In July, Public Health England (PHE) noted that a BMI of 35 to 40 could increase risk of dying with Covid by 40 percent, while a BMI of over 40 could increase this risk by 90 percent.

“At the University of Cambridge, Stephen O’Rahilly explained when we carry excess fat it accumulates in the liver and skeletal muscle.

“This disturbs our metabolism, and in particular, causes high insulin levels.

“This, in turn increases inflammatory cytokines [immune-fighting proteins] and reduces adiponectin, which normally protects the lungs.”

Dr Giuseppe Aragona, GP and online doctor for PrescriptionDoctors, says adults with a BMI of over 40 have been made a priority due to the risk posed to their health when compared to healthy people.

He explained: “A healthy BMI is around 18 to 24 range and so those with the high BMI should take priority for the vaccine as they are at a greater risk, almost double in fact.

“Furthermore, those who have diabetes are also placed in the high risk category.

“Type one diabetes is mainly genetic. However, type two diabetes is most common in those who are overweight, so this should also be considered.”

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What’s the BMI categories?

Below 18.5 – you’re in the underweight range

Between 18.5 and 24.9 – you’re in the healthy weight range

Between 25 and 29.9 – you’re in the overweight range

Between 30 and 39.9 – you’re in the obese range

Anything above 40 – clinically obese

How to calculate your BMI

The NHS has a calculator tool which easily enables you to work out your BM|, which you can use here. 

You will need to have your height in feet and inches, as well as your weight in stones or kilograms.

But, there is a way to calculate an adult’s BMI yourself.

You can do this yourself by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in metres squared. For example, a BMI of 25 means 25kg divided by m2.

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