BMI (Body Mass Index)

A person's body mass index (BMI) is an estimate of body fat calculated using height and weight. The higher your BMI, the higher your risk for diseases that can occur with more body fat.

Adult BMI Calculator

(Use this calculator for adults, 20 years old and older.)
Your height in inches:
Your weight in pounds:  
Your BMI is:

What your BMI result tells you:

 Below 18.5 Underweight
 18.5 - 24.9 Healthy
 25 - 29.9 Overweight
 Above 30 Obese

If your BMI is less than 18.5
 You are underweight. Although much of society considers this to be a good thing, you may be too light to be considered healthy. You may want to eat more healthy foods, eat an extra meal each day, and/or add more weight training to your exercise routine.
If your BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9
 You are of a healthy weight. Congratulations!!! Make sure you stay in this range by eating right and exercising.
If your BMI is between 25 and 29.9
 You are considered to be overweight. Time to look at your diet and exercise schedule to bring your BMI down. Cut down on unhealthy food. Add more cardio to your exercise routine. Start or continue lifting weights because muscle burns fat, so the more muscle you have, the more fat that gets burned while you're not exercising.
If your BMI is greater than 30
 You are considered obese in the BMI scale. If you haven't seen your doctor lately, you may want to discuss this with him/her. You might also want to hire a personal trainer to help you get into shape. But you're likely to hear him/her suggest you get a physical before starting any strenuous exercise routines.

When BMI is not useful:

Although the value of your BMI is a great tool to help determine if your in a healthy weight range, there are times that the BMI value can be deceiving:

  • If you're a weight lifter and very muscular. The BMI does not make a distinction between fat and muscle. Muscle weighs more than fat. So it's very likely that if you are muscular, your BMI will be on the high side even though you're very healthy. If you do lift a lot of weights and have a high BMI, you may want to have a body fat analysis by a doctor or personal trainer to put your mind at ease.

  • As we age, we naturally lose muscle. You can delay this by working out, but eventually you will lose some muscle mass. With less muscle, more fat may compose your weight. Since fat is lighter than muscle, you may not realize how much fat is hiding in your body. So it's possilbe that elderly may fall in the healthy BMI range, but actually be overweight. Consult your doctor if you're not sure, or check with a personal trainer who can evaluate your body composition.

Risks of high BMI

Obese, and even overweight people, are more at a higher risk of developing diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, disease of the gallbladder, stroke, osteoarthritis, certain cancers (like colon, breast or endometrial) and respiratory problems than those in the healthy BMI range.

Reducing your BMI

Reducing your BMI takes a commitment to losing weight and adopting a healthy lifestyle. Start by engaging in physical activity for at least 30 minutes per day and by eating a healthier diet with fewer calories and fat.

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