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Why BMI Is Important To Your Heart: August 3, 2012

Chances are you know your blood pressure, but what about your BMI? Body mass index signals if you're overweight, obese or just right.

Next time someone wants to check your BMI, don’t be surprised if it’s not a trainer at the gym but a cardiologist.

“As your body mass index increases we see a higher instance of cardiovascular events, diabetes, high blood pressure,” says Lee Memorial Health System cardiologist Dr. Brian Taschner.

Your body mass index, or BMI, looks at the ratio between weight and height.

“The body mass index is actually what we use to define ‘obesity’ and ‘overweight’ in our country,” says Dr. Taschner.

With two-thirds of Americans falling into one of those categories, some doctors have started referring to BMI as a vital sign.

A normal BMI is less than 25; obesity begins at 30. A high number puts people at an elevated health risk.

“If that person has, in addition to their body mass index being elevated, a waist circumference greater than 40 inches, that puts them into a very high risk category. So it essentially bumps them up a risk category,” says Dr. Taschner.

You can take proactive steps today by learning your numbers.

“I think it’s helpful.  There are tables on the Internet, basically to look up your height and weight and it’ll give you your body mass index,” says Dr. Taschner.

It’s all about getting the skinny on your heart health.