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    What is BMI: Maintaining a Healthy Weight for a Healthy Life

    What is BMI? Understanding the Effectiveness and Importance of BMI

    Last Updated On 29-12-2023

    Imagine applying for life insurance only to discover that everyone, regardless of age or weight, is charged the same premium. Is that fair? Should a person dedicated to maintaining a healthy body weight be on par with someone who pays less attention to their well-being?

    Fortunately, in India, insurance practices acknowledge the importance of good health, often resulting in competitive premiums for those who prioritise their well-being. Insurance companies screen applications at the initial stages by checking a few key health metrics; one of which is the body mass index (BMI).

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    In this article, we shall evaluate what is BMI, explore the importance of BMI in the context of insurance, and share easy-to-follow tips to maintain a healthy BMI.

    What is BMI?

    Body Mass Index, commonly known as BMI, is a numerical measure that serves as a quick and convenient indicator of an individual's body weight in relation to their height. It provides a simplified yet effective way to assess whether a person falls into categories such as underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese.

    BMI Calculation Formula= Weight/ Height * Height (in metres)

    For example, your height is 5 feet 7 inches and you weigh 70 kg. First, convert feet into metres (1 metre = 3.28 feet). Then, using the BMI formula , determine your body mass index. In this case the BMI is 24.22.

    The BMI value for the same height and weight differs based on your gender and age. Therefore, it is easier to calculate the BMI directly by using a BMI calculator online that is already pre-feeded with all the value changes associated with age and gender.

    All you need to do is simply select your age, gender, and enter your weight and height, and the BMI value will be calculated instantly.

    What’s a Normal BMI?

    People with a BMI in the range of 18.5 to 24.9 are considered to be healthy. People with a BMI below 18.5 are considered underweight, and those with BMI above 24.9 are considered overweight, with a BMI above 30 hinting at obesity.

    The range charts have been prepared by actuarial statisticians by analysing data of thousands of people, and serves as a reasonable starting point to diagnose physical health. You can read more about the body mass index charts and BMI calculation formula here.

    Importance of BMI in General

    Body mass index is an important screening tool to give an overview of your health and consequently, life expectancy. While BMI does not singularly point out any health issues, knowing whether you are underweight, healthy or overweight, can help doctors better decide the future course of health tests and treatment.

    For instance, a BMI of 16 clearly indicates being underweight. Common reasons for being underweight are undernutrition, anaemia, or osteoporosis, so knowing the fact that you are underweight can help the doctor recommend appropriate tests to accurately identify the possible causes.

    Why is BMI Important for Calculating Life Insurance Premium?

    Insurance companies use the BMI score to determine whether you belong to the low-risk or high-risk category and accordingly propose a premium amount. An outside normal range of weight, whether low or high, usually translates to a BMI outside the normal range of 18.5-24.9.

    Such a BMI also hints at existing diseases or chances of health diseases in the future, which impacts life expectancy and is thus accordingly factored in while calculating life insurance premiums.

    However, you should know that BMI is only an initial screening tool and the actual premium amount depends on several other factors such as previous occupation, health history, and family history of certain diseases such as diabetes or hypertension.

    Is BMI a Fool-Proof Health Metric?

    The straight answer is no. BMI is a valuable initial screening tool to help insurers determine your life expectancy based on your weight. It is not a 100% accurate measure and nor is it the only determinant of your insurance premium.

    In fact, sometimes, it may even give an incorrect picture of your health. For instance, sportspersons usually have a high muscle mass weight. In that case, their BMI may be above 24.9. But does that mean they suffer from any health issues? Not at all.

    Therefore, simply considering ‘What is BMI for X application Number’ to determine the insurance amount would be unwise. Thankfully, no reputed insurer follows this approach and you will get an opportunity to share comprehensive health details even if your BMI is not within the standard healthy range, and the premium will be decided suitably thereafter.

    3 Effective Tips to Maintain a Healthy BMI

    According to a WHO study, nearly 2.8 million die due to being overweight or obese, while 45% of children below five years of age die due to being underweight (major cause undernutrition). These facts point to the importance of understanding what is BMI and maintaining a healthy BMI metric for yourself. Here are some tips to keep your BMI in check:

    • Balanced Diet: Ensure you eat well-balanced meals that include a variety of nutrients in appropriate proportions. Avoid excessive consumption of fast food, and focus on staying adequately hydrated.
    • Regular Exercise: According to a Harvard study, exercising for just 150-300 minutes every week can reduce the risk of early death by 21%. Ensure you include physical activity into your regular routine. The activity can be anything– a normal-paced walk, playing a sport, swimming, or going to the gym. The key is to keep yourself active in order to keep your weight in check.
    • Regular Health Check-ups: Preventive health check ups help, especially once you cross 40 years of age, are extremely important to ensure early detection of any health issues and also to improve your pre-existing lifestyle.


    We hope you now have a clear understanding of what is BMI, and how it can be used to easily track your health. While BMI is not the sole determinant of premiums, it plays an important role at the initial stages of application processing and hence should not be overlooked.

    At PNB MetLife, we appreciate the importance of a healthy lifestyle, and rigorously work towards offering the most competitive insurance premiums to applicants based on their lifestyle.

    Mishaps can strike your life at any time, but you should not leave them to chance. Explore PNB MetLife insurance, select the ones that best suit the needs of you and your loved ones, and take a step towards financial security. Check PNB MetLife’s life insurance policies now.

    Related Articles:

    Decoding BMI: A Journey from Fitness to Insurance Insights

    Find Out 5 Lifestyle Habits You Must Adopt for A Healthier Future

    Unlocking Life Insurance: How You Can Defy the Odds, Just Like Uma Did


    The aforesaid article presents the view of an independent writer who is an expert on financial and insurance matters. PNB MetLife India Insurance Co. Ltd. doesn’t influence or support views of the writer of the article in any way. The article is informative in nature and PNB MetLife and/ or the writer of the article shall not be responsible for any direct/ indirect loss or liability or medical complications incurred by the reader for taking any decisions based on the contents and information given in article. Please consult your financial advisor/ insurance advisor/ health advisor before making any decision.

    PNB MetLife India Insurance Company Limited Registered office address: Unit No. 701, 702 & 703, 7th Floor, West Wing, Raheja Towers, 26/27 M G Road, Bangalore -560001, Karnataka
    IRDAI Registration number 117 | CIN U66010KA2001PLC028883

    Terms & condition apply, Benefits stipulated are subject to premiums paid and policies in-force. For more details on risk factors, please read the sales brochure and the terms and conditions of the policy, carefully before concluding the sale. Tax benefits are as per the Income Tax Act, 1961, & are subject to amendments made thereto from time to time. Please consult your tax consultant for more details. Goods and Services Tax (GST) shall be levied as per prevailing tax laws which are subject to change from time to time. The marks "PNB" and "MetLife" are registered trademarks of Punjab National Bank and Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, respectively. PNB MetLife India Insurance Company Limited is a licensed user of these marks. Call us Toll-free at 1-800-425-6969, Phone: 080-66006969, Website:, Email: or Write to us: 1st Floor, Techniplex -1, Techniplex Complex, Off Veer Savarkar Flyover, Goregaon (West), Mumbai – 400062, Maharashtra. Phone: +91-22-41790000, Fax: +91-22-41790203.

    Beware of Spurious Phone Calls and Fictitious / Fraudulent Offers!
    IRDAI is not involved in activities like selling insurance policies, announcing bonus or investments of premium. Public receiving such phone calls are requested to lodge a police complaint.



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