Saturday, January 14, 2012

Ideal Body Weight and Body Mass Index Health Indicators

Nutritional Imbalance is becoming a huge problem nowadays as more and more people are getting obese, although some are on the other hand, malnourished. It is very important to keep track of one's weight in assessing one's nutritional status. There are many methods taken into account in assessing one's nutritional status and these are: IBW or Ideal Body Weight, BMI or Body Mass Index health indicator, Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry or DEXA and BIA or bioelectrical impedance analysis. However, among all the parameters mentioned, this article shall provide focus on the most commonly used ones such as the IBW and BMI.

According to Kozier, author of Fundamentals of Nursing book, Ideal Body Weight or IBW refers to the optimal weight recommended for optimal health. Standard charts are made as reference to this or a health care provider can calculate a person's Ideal Body Weight by using the Rule of 5 for women and the Rule of 6 for men. To get the ideal body weight of a female, for each 5 feet in her height, a weight of 100 lbs is given, then 5 is added per inch over 5 feet. Then 10% is added or subtracted depending on the body-frame size of the female. For example, Anna's height is 5'3" and she has a small body-frame size. For the 5 feet, the health care provider gives a value of 100 lbs, then plus 15 because of the 3 inches over the 5 feet. So that makes the weight 115. Since Anna's body-frame size is small, the health care provider must subtract 10% from 115. 11.5 is subtracted from 115, which makes it 103.5. Therefore, the Ideal Body Weight of Anna for her height should be 103.5 lbs. There is a different formula used for males, which is the rule of 6. For each 5 feet, it is equivalent to 106 lbs and for each inch over 5 feet, 6 lbs is added. The 10% addition or minus is also applied. On the other hand, a more widely used formula for assessing nutritional health is the Body Mass Index health indicator. And unlike IBW, BMI is much more simpler and the formula used is applicable for both males and females.


The Body Mass Index health indicator is also used as a parameter and is rather more convenient. According to the same aforementioned author, the Body Mass Index is an indicator of changes in body fat stores and whether a person's weight is appropriate for height, and may provide a useful estimate of malnutrition. To calculate for the Body Mass Index, the health practitioner, who usually is the nurse takes the height of an individual in meters and his or her weight in kilograms. The standard formula for BMI: the person's weight in kilograms is divided by the person's height in meters squared. For instance, if May's weight is 72 kilograms and height is 1.7 meters (1.7x1.7 = 2.89 m2), her BMI is 24.9 because 72 Kg is divided by 2.88 m2, After taking the BMI, the value is compared against a set of standards to determine if the person is underweight, normal, overweight, or obese.