Where Are You On The Global BMI Scale?

The BBC have launched a calculator that tells you exactly where you stand in relation to your BMI score, but on a global scale. Most of us are aware that a healthy BMI score is between 18.5 and 25 but this new application will show you how you compare in regards to people from your own country and other nations.

It matches you to another country, for instance, if your BMI is around 38, this is a high rating and you are more like a person who comes from Tonga. Tonga have the highest average BMI rates in the world, surprisingly as you would perhaps expect the US to be amongst the top raters. BMI is a measure of weight relative to height.

This is a measure doctors use to gauge obesity. It is calculated by weight in kilograms divided by height in metres squared. To calculate your BMI, visit this page http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-18781786 which will take you to the BBC page in which you can see where you stand, globally in the BMI scale.

BMI Scale

  • A BMI of less than 18.5 is underweight
  • A BMI of 18.5-25 is ideal
  • A BMI of 25-30 is overweight
  • A BMI score of 30 or above is obese

This new BBC calculator can tell you if you are a healthy weight for your height and how you rank against others globally. It uses your age, sex, nationality, height and weight, to come up with a number representing your Body Mass Index or BMI. This calculator is based on research data which has been put together by a team of researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Using UN data on population size in 177 countries, together with estimates of global weight from the WHO and mean height from national health examination surveys the team were able to calculate average BMI figures for each country. Using the values that you input into the calculator, it works out your BMI as well as where you are in relation to the rest of the population in your country and the world for your gender and age. However, as with all large data sets, there is a margin of error in this calculation, something statisticians call ‘standard deviation’. This is indicated on the graph by the faint band either side of your indicated BMI measure. Your range is a reference to the ‘standard deviation from the mean’, in other words your result is likely to vary within these boundaries.

It is suspected that the obesity epidemic is seen as a bigger threat to mankind than population growth. As well as the health implications, experts are also concerned about the environmental impact. The adult human population has a combined weight of 287,000,000 tonnes, researchers say. If obesity increases it could have the same impact on global resources as an extra billion people, they believe. Researchers say if increasing levels of fatness are replicated globally it could mean the equivalent of an extra billion people on the planet. Studies showed that North America had the highest average of heavier people and although only 6% of the global population live there, it is responsible for more than a third of the obesity, according to a report called The Weight of Nations, published in the journal BMC Public Health. Researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine calculate the weight of the global population at 287 million tonnes.

They estimate that 15 million tonnes of this mass is due to people being overweight, and 3.5 million tonnes due to obesity. In their calculations they used World Health Organization data from 2005, and worked out that the average global body weight was 62kg (137lb). However, there were huge regional differences. For example, in North America, the average was 80.7kg (178lb), while in Asia it was 57.7kg (127lb). Moreover, whilst Asia accounts for 61% of the global population, it only accounts for 13% of the weight of the world due to obesity. Prof Ian Roberts, oneof the authors of the report, explained, “When people think about environmental sustainability, they immediately focus on population. Actually, when it comes down to it – it’s not how many mouths there are to feed, it’s how much flesh there is on the planet.”

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