1. Health

What is BMI, and how do I determine mine?

By

Updated June 10, 2012

Question: What is BMI, and how do I determine mine?
Answer:

Body Mass Index, or BMI, is a tool that helps you measure the amount of body fat you have based on your height and weight. It's very easy to calculate yourself! Simply measure your height (in inches) and weight (in pounds). Multiply your weight by 703. Multiply your height times itself. Now divide the first answer by your height times itself. For example, say you are 5'3" tall (63 inches), and 130 pounds. The first multiplication is simple: (703 x 130 = 91,390). Now do the second multiplication: (63 x 63 = 3,969). Finally, the division: (91,390 / 3,969 = 23). Your BMI is 23. Too complicated? I've included a tool below that will do the math for you.

Interpreting your BMI

If your BMI is below 18.5, you are considered underweight. Consider speaking to your doctor about ways that you can add healthy calories to your diet. If your BMI is 18.5 - 24.9, you are considered to be a normal weight. Keep following a healthy diet and exercise plan to maintain your weight and health. If your BMI is 25.0 - 29.9, you are considered overweight. It is very important to consider making some lifestyle changes that incorporate better nutrition and activity choices. Speak to your doctor or a nutritionist for some ideas if necessary. Finally, if your BMI is above 30, you are considered obese. Obesity has been linked to a number of serious health complications, so it is imperative to make some changes now. Please discuss any diet and exercise plan with either your doctor or a nutritionist.

Limitations of BMI

While the BMI tool is fairly reliable, it is only one tool that physicians use in evaluating a person's health status. It is important to take other measures like blood pressure, cardiac health, physical inactivity and abdominal girth. Also keep in mind that BMI does not distinguish between muscle mass and fat mass. A particularly athletic person whose weight is higher due to muscle may have a BMI that indicates that they are overweight, when their weight is simply higher due to muscle mass.
Related Video
How to Calculate BMI
  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. PCOS
  4. Weight Loss
  5. BMI - What is BMI

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.