Body mass index
BMI; Obesity - body mass index; Obesity - BMI; Overweight - body mass index; Overweight - BMI
A good way to decide if your weight is healthy for your height is to figure out your body mass index (BMI). You and your health care provider can use your BMI to estimate how much body fat you have.
HOW TO DETERMINE YOUR BMI
Your BMI estimates how much you should weigh based on your height.
There are many websites with calculators that give your BMI when you enter your weight and height.
You can also calculate it yourself:
For example, a woman who weighs 270 pounds (122 kilograms) and is 68 inches (172 centimeters) tall has a BMI of 41.0.
Use the chart below to see what category your BMI falls into, and whether you need to be concerned about your weight.
BMI is not always the best way to decide whether you need to lose weight. If you have more or less muscle than is normal, your BMI may not be a perfect measure of how much body fat you have:
Providers use a few methods to decide whether you are overweight. Your provider may also take your waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio into consideration.
Your BMI alone can't predict your health risk, but most experts say that a BMI greater than 30 (obesity) is unhealthy. No matter what your BMI is, exercise can help reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Remember to always talk to your provider before starting an exercise program.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About adult BMI. CDC.gov. Updated May 15, 2015. www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/adult_bmi/index.html. Accessed July 29, 2016.
Gahagan S. Overweight and obesity. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St Geme JW, Schor NF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 47.
Jensen MD. Obesity. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 220.
Review Date: 7/13/2016
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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