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What's This Thing Called a Body Mass Index

From eDiets - The online diet, fitness, and healthy living resource

What's this thing called a BMI and why is it so important to me?

Here's what the experts at America's leading online weight loss website have to say:

Body mass index, or BMI, is a new term to most people. However, it is the measurement of choice for many physicians and researchers studying obesity. BMI uses a mathematical formula that takes into account both a person's height and weight. BMI equals a person's weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared. (BMI=kg/m2)

If your BMI is high, you may have an increase risk of developing certain illnesses, including hypertension, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis or infertility.

Now's the perfect time to learn your risk of a life-threatening illness. Step on your scale then go to our BMI calculator.

According to eDiets and the American Cancer Society (, "Controlling your weight can help you feel better and more energetic, and it's important for your health. It's good for heart disease. It's good for diabetes. And now, we know it's good for cancer, too."

Much like eDiets, the ACS is spreading the word that eating a healthy diet and being physically active are important ways to reduce your risk of cancer and the above-mentioned diseases.

The ACS also says being overweight may put you at a greater risk not only for cancer, but also for heart disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis and stroke. In fact, a third of all cancer deaths that occur each year in the U.S. can be prevented through healthy eating and physically active lifestyles.

Scary, huh? It doesn't have to be. All you got to do is achieve and maintain a healthy BMI.

Here are a few tips from the ACS for reducing your risk of disease.

  • Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day.
  • Eat a variety of whole grains whenever you can, rather than processed grains. The nutrients in whole grains have been associated with lower risk of cancers such as colon cancer.
  • Limit your consumption of red meats, but don't forgo protein-rich foods. Choose fish, poultry or beans instead.
  • Get two servings of dairy products per day, preferably ones that are low in fat.
  • Limit alcohol and high-sugar foods and beverages. These add calories but very few nutrients, and alcohol can contribute to cancer risk.
  • Consider your portion sizes, no matter what you're eating. If you're eating out, ask your waiter to wrap up half your entrée before bringing it to your table.
  • Get at least 30 minutes of moderate activity at least five days per week.

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