It is used for a comparative analysis of people with similar heights.
The body mass index is a brainchild of a Belgian statistician and mathematician named Adolphe Quatelet who created the BMI sometime from1830 to 1850.
To calculate the BMI, divide the person's weight in kilograms by their height in meters squared.
The Body Mass Index has been in use as a medical benchmark for obesity and is the statistical estimate for Adiposity.
It is also the standard employed by the WHO (World Health Organization) for its obesity statistics.
This number was introduced to the public through the government's efforts to promote sanguinity, nutritional knowledge, and healthy eating habits.
This simple statistic has rendered itself very important since it can adapt itself to continuous changes inherent in a community and can indicate the economic development on a nutritional basis.
The BMI was promoted as a simple rule of thumb that any individual of a particular height can calculate at home.
It might not be the best possible indicator with regard to weight and health, as it can be unreliable in children, athletes, and the elderly.
It's quite simple to get an idea for the approximate type of body weight using the BMI.
Roughly, an individual with BMI of 19 or less can be classified as underweight and is liable to suffer from malnutrition and other such eating disorders.
A BMI of 25 is considered overweight and a BMI of 30 would classify as extremely obese.
The US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey reported that about 59 % of American men and 49% of American women are overweight and over 2% of men and 4% of women were reported to be extremely obese.
These alarming reports only prove the BMI to be a more critical in America today rather than just an easy index for a self- check.
It is to be noted that the BMI is not a fully reliable statistic by itself and hence health and nutrition recommendations to an individual cannot be made using just the BMI.