BMI in the Elderly: What You Need to Know

Using a table or chart that shows BMI as a function of weight and height with contour lines or colors for various BMI categories and may use other units of measurement, you can figure out your BMI (body mass index) (converted to metric units for the calculation).

A person’s tissue mass (muscle, fat, and bone) and height are used to calculate the BMI, which is a handy rule of thumb for determining whether they are underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese. There is some discussion over where the BMI scale dividing lines between categories should be positioned in relation to this categorization. BMI varies from underweight (less than 18.5 kg/m2) through overweight (more than 25 kg/m2), and obese (more than 30 kg/m2) (over 30).


BMI formula

The BMI (Body Mass Index) in (kg/m2) is equal to the mass in kilograms (kg) divided by the square height in meters (m):

BMi calculating formula with apple
  • BMI(kg/m2) = mass(kg) / height2(m)

The BMI (Body Mass Index) in (kg/m2) is equal to the mass in pounds (lbs) divided by the square height in inches (in) times 703:

  • BMI(kg/m2) = mass(lb) / height2(in) × 703

Why is BMI incorrect for the elderly?

The body mass index (BMI) is a number derived from a person’s weight and height. A BMI of above 25 is linked to a greater all-cause death rate and a higher risk of developing diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. As a result, the normal BMI ranges have been calculated to be between 18.5 and 25 kg/m2.

BMI has some restrictions, even though it can be used on most adults:

  • It may exaggerate body fat in athletes and those with a strong build while underestimating body fat in the elderly and those with little muscle tissue.
  • Furthermore, a recent study has found that being overweight is not linked to an increased risk of mortality in older people. As a result, distinct BMI ranges for healthy people have been discovered. To learn more about BMI for seniors, read the paragraphs below.

Geriatric BMI recommendations for older persons

We hope we’ve answered the question “Why is BMI not accurate for the elderly?” but who are we talking about when we say “the elderly?” An elder person, according to WHO, is someone who is 65 years old or older (often 60 years old). Different BMI categories for older persons were established based on significant research, with a healthy weight defined as a BMI range from 23 to 29.9 kg/m2. This is because studies discovered that a BMI of less than 23 and greater than 33 is linked to a much higher risk of death.

But why are the BMI guidelines for the elderly differ from those for the general population? The human body changes with age, with older people having more fatty tissue than younger people. Furthermore, a higher BMI is linked to more energy storage and a better overall nutritional status. When major chronic health issues (typically associated with age) emerge, such as chronic heart failure or cancer cachexia, this is critical.

BMI Chart for the elderly

We’ve included a BMI chart for seniors as well as a conventional BMI chart below.

  1. BMI chart for seniors/elders.
BMIWeight status
<23 kg/m²Underweight
23-29.9 kg/m²Normal weight
>= 30 kg/m²Overweight/obese
  1. BMI chart for the general population.
BMIWeight status
<18.5 kg/m²Underweight
18.5-24.9 kg/m²Normal weight
24.9-29.9 kg/m²Overweight
>=30 kg/m²Obese

Why is a healthy BMI vital for the Elderly?

BMI If your BMI is high, you’re more likely to get diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and other health problems. In the same way, having a low BMI can lead to poor health and a reduced life expectancy. Although BMI guidelines suggest that your BMI should be between 18 and 25, healthcare practitioners advise that for older persons, a BMI between 25 and 27 is preferable to a BMI below 25, since it can help maintain a healthy immune system and prevent problems like osteoporosis (bone thinning).

How Can You Maintain Your Weight?

When you get older, you lose weight due to loss of appetite or sickness, and if your BMI falls below 25, it can be concerning. If you don’t eat enough, your immune system weakens and you become constantly weary. There are also health dangers, including as bone fractures from falls and vitamin and mineral deficiencies. If a loss of appetite is the primary cause of your weight loss, you can take the following steps:

  • Instead of three substantial meals a day, try transitioning to smaller meals that can be eaten 4-5 times a day.
  • Cheese, puddings, and other calorie-dense items should be included in your diet.
  • To boost calorie consumption, add extra components to foods. For example, you can use cheese in soups, butter in chapatis and rice, and milk coffee instead of black coffee.
  • Increase the amount of time you spend exercising on a regular basis. It can help you lose weight while also keeping your heart healthy. If you find it tedious, consider finding an exercise partner or choosing a setting that makes you happy (like a park or garden).

What Can You Do to Lose Weight?

If your BMI is more than 27, you should aim to lower it to avoid significant health problems including diabetes, high blood pressure, and stroke. You can do it in a variety of ways, including:

Walking every day

Walking every day According to experts, the elderly should walk for at least 30-40 minutes every day. This can help you burn 350-400 calories per session, which will help you lose weight. Walking is also healthy for your bones and tendons, as well as improving blood circulation, which is beneficial to mental health.

Fibre Intake Increased

Fiber Consumption More fibre and roughage in your diet can help you lose weight quickly by making you feel full despite the fact that the content is low in calories. It can also help with digestion and avoid constipation. The daily fiber consumption recommendation is roughly 30 grams. Oatmeal, legumes, and fruits like apple and papaya are all acceptable choices.

Sun Exposure

Solar Radiation Weight gain is connected to vitamin D insufficiency. This is because it interacts with the hormone leptin, which regulates hunger signals, according to experts. When your body’s Vitamin D levels are low, you may feel compelled to consume more frequently. The elderly are notorious for spending the majority of their time indoors. As a result, kids do not get enough sun exposure, which is one of the best sources of Vitamin D. This not only impacts their mood and mental health, but it can also lead to vitamin D deficiency, which has an impact on their eating habits. As a result, it’s critical that you spend at least 30 minutes each day outside, in the sun.

Healthy Weight Means a Healthy Body

Keep an eye on your BMI to ensure that you stay fighting fit well into your golden years. Take proper actions to recover the appropriate weight whenever you go outside of the ideal 25-27 range. Remember that you will be healthy if your body weight is healthy.

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