Body Mass Index, often referred to as BMI is calculated from your height and weight. It can be used as an inexpensive method of estimating body fat.
Calculating Your BMI
You can calculate your BMI as:
- weight (in kg) / [height (in meters) x height (in meters)];
- weight (in pounds) / [height (in inches) x height (in inches)] x 703;
- or use the calculator below:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have established guidelines to interpret BMIs. It is important to note:
- BMI can be influenced by heavy muscling
- Women generally have a higher percent body fat for a given BMI than do men
- The elderly tend to have more fat than do younger individuals
- It is interpreted using different guidelines in children.
|Less that 18.5||Underweight|
|18.5 – 24.9||Normal Weight|
|25.0 – 29.9||Overweight|
|More than 30.0||Obese|
BMI and Your Health
People with very low or very high BMIs tend to have the greatest health risks but it is only one factor in determining risk. For example, smoking cigarettes and being sedentary will raise your risk – even if your BMI is in the normal range.
By the same token EXERCISE lowers your risk of disease, even if overweight or obese.
Getting regular physical activity is the one of the most important modifications you can make to your lifestyle, and in doing so you are also more likely to be able to maintain a healthier weight.
Pedersen BK, Saltin B. Evidence for prescribing exercise as therapy in chronic disease. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2006 Feb;16 Suppl 1:3-63. Review.