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Beyond the Numbers: Understanding the Relationship Between BMI and Diabetes

Body Mass Index

What is BMI, and how is it calculated?

Many people have heard of BMI, but not everyone understands what it means, especially in the context of diabetes. BMI stands for Body Mass Index. It's a calculation that uses your height and weight to help you figure out whether you're in a healthy weight range.

One can calculate BMI by dividing weight in kilograms by height in meters squared. For example, if you weigh 70 kg and you're 1.75 meters tall, your BMI would be approximately 22.9.1


Watch Dr Kalyan Kumar Gangopadhyay talk about BMI and diabetes here


Why is BMI important in the context of diabetes?

  • BMI is a good way to check your risk of diseases related to body fat. Living with overweight or obesity is associated with an increased risk of mortality and other diseases or conditions. Generally, the higher your BMI, the greater the chance of developing other chronic obesity-related diseases like cardiovascular disease, stroke, high blood pressure, infertility, depression and anxiety, coronary heart disease, chronic kidney disease,etc.

For most people a BMI between 18.5 and 23 kg/m2 is considered healthy. In people living with excess weight can make it harder to control blood sugar levels and increase the risk of diabetes-related complications.2

What are the limits of BMI?

BMI is a simple and objective measurement, but it can be misleading in certain cases and for some groups of people. Research has shown that BMI is less accurate in predicting the risk of disease in people who are older, athletes, those who are tall or short, and those with more muscular body types. For example, elite athletes or bodybuilders have more muscle and weigh more, which makes their BMI higher.

BMI also doesn't consider hereditary risk factors associated with obesity-related diseases, such as metabolic syndrome, environmental and lifestyle factors other than obesity that can contribute to your risk of developing chronic disease and how body fat is distributed in individuals. Your BMI doesn't define you but knowing and understanding your BMI can be a powerful tool for taking charge of your own health.


What are some ways to manage weight and diabetes?

Following a balanced diet, regular exercise, and mental well-being are essential in managing weight and diabetes. Even a little weight loss can have significant benefits in improving glycaemic control and reducing the risk of diabetes-related complications. It's important to talk to your healthcare provider about what's best for you on your diabetes journey.

In conclusion, paying attention to BMI is important in the context of diabetes management. Excess weight or obesity can make it harder to control blood sugar levels and increase the risk of diabetes-related complications. Following a balanced diet, regular exercise, and mental well-being are essential in managing weight and diabetes. There are newer possibilities in diabetes management that can make it easier to lead a healthy life. Together, let's reduce the weight of diabetes and improve our overall health and well-being.

Check out your BMI here


  1. Zierle-Ghosh A, Jan A. Physiology, Body Mass Index. [Updated 2022 Sep 11]. In: Stat Pearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): Stat Pearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from: https: //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK535456/
  2. Moosaie F et al. Prim Care Diabetes. 2022 Jun;16(3):422-429.
  3. ElSayed NA et al. Diabetes Care. 2023 Jan 1;46(Suppl 1): S111-S127.
  4. Khanna D et al. Cureus. 2022 Feb 11;14(2):e22119.
  5. Davies MJ et al. Diabetes Care. 2022 Nov 1;45(11):2753-2786.

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