How does the Body Mass Index (BMI) affect me and my diabetes?

BMI is a standardised estimate of an individual’s relative body fat calculated from his/her height and weight. Your BMI on its own is a very important indicator of whether your weight is acceptable or not. A higher BMI indicates a greater risk of several conditions including hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes mellitus (sugar diabetes) and the risk of strokes and heart attacks.

BMI has limitations because it is not a measure of body fatness; very muscular individuals often fall into the overweight category when they are not overly fat. Additionally, BMI may place individuals who have lost muscle into the healthy weight category.

Measuring BMI for very short people or pregnant women is not appropriate. It is believed that excessive abdominal fat is more health threatening than hip or thigh fat. Abdominal/ central obesity is the accumulation of fat around the abdomen. If you have abdominal obesity but normal BMI, you can still be at risk for the health conditions above.

A waistline of over 88cm for women and 102cm for men may increase the risk for developing high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease. Therefore waist measurement (taken over the naval) together with calculating BMI determine the risk for Type 2 diabetes.

Weight loss has proven to be beneficial in reducing the risk of getting high blood pressure, cancer and diabetes. Other benefits of weight loss are:

  •  Increased life expectancy
  • Improved fasting blood glucose, lipid profile and blood pressure
  • Reduced abdominal and overall fat percentage
  • Decreased stress and anxiety


To find out what you can do to achieve your ideal BMI, click here to speak to us now to arrange an appointment with one of our dieticians.

Clinics & Services

We have three strategically located clinics in Joburg & surrounds and a full range of specialist diabetes services.

Pregnancy and Diabetes

Why every pregnant woman should take note of diabetes and what precautions should be taken.