Two simple methods to assess your health.

In this article we explain two simple methods you can use to get a rough idea of your nutritional status.

1)    Calculating your Body Mass Index (BMI)

This is calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms by the square of your height in metres{Weight in kg/ (height in metres)2}. Now look up your results in the table below.

Table 1: Classification of individuals based on BMI

Range (BMI) Category
Below 18.4 Underweight
From 18.5 to 24.9 Normal (recommended)
From 25.0 to 29.9 Overweight
From 30.0 to 39.9 Obese
Above 40.0 Morbidly obese


Individuals who fall into the overweight, obese, and morbidly obese ranges are likely to have an excessive accumulation of fat and this presents a risk to health. Diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases are associated with these ranges. Also individuals in the underweight range are likely to be providing their bodies with inadequate nutrients for growth and maintenance, also posing risks to health.

The BMI is however not a gold standard and it also does not show how active one is. This means that an individual in the normal range may not be in the optimum healthy state.

2)    Determining how active you are

This is determined based on whether you undertake one or a combination of two, three or four of the following types of physical activity;

  1.   Carrying out light intensity physical activities such as cooking, washing, and house cleaning, walking,on daily basis.
    b.   Carrying out moderate intensity physical activity such as brisk walking, cycling and dancing for at least 150 minutes per week
    c.   Carrying out high intensity physical activity such as running and playing a sport, at least 75 minutes per week.
    d.   Carrying out muscle strengthening physical activity such as exercising with weights, moving/carrying heavy loads such as groceries at least 2 days a week.

See the table below.


Table 2: Classification of individuals based on undertaking a type of physical activity

Undertaking Category
Only a* Less active
Only b* or Only c*or (0.5b +0.5c) Active
(a + b)* or (a + c)* or (a + 0.5b +0.5c) More active
(a + b + d)* or (a+ c + d)* or (a + 0.5b +0.5c + d)* Most active (recommended)

(*) = this does not include sedentary behaviour

Staying active is important as it ensures that muscular strength and endurance as well as cardiorespiratory endurance and body composition are improved to prevent diseases. Consequently, individuals who are not active or less active and most especially are not in the recommended category of staying active (see the table above) are at risk of diseases.

This method is also not the gold standard.

In order to get a proper assessment of your nutritional status, it is advisable to contact a health professional such as a nutritionist, dietitian. Your local health centre or health professional bodies can assist you to get into contact with these persons.

Last page review: 22/03/2016
Next page review: 22/03/2018


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