Using a body mass index, or BMI, to determine whether someone is overweight or obese can help health care providers assess the risks associated with body weight and provide recommendations for healthy living. However, it’s not the only factor that healthcare providers consider when determining a person’s health and risk of disease.
To use BMI, you must have the right height and weight measurements. To calculate your BMI, take your height in metric units, and multiply it by the square of your weight in kilograms or meters. For example, if you weigh 40 kg and are 1.9 meters tall, your BMI is 17.7.
When you are ready to see if you have a healthy weight, it’s helpful to calculate your waist circumference (waist to hip ratio). A higher percentage of fat around the internal organs, or “visceral fat,” is associated with an increased risk of health problems such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
It’s also important to know that a BMI of 25 or more is considered overweight. A healthy range for an adult’s BMI is 18.5 to 24.9.
If you have a BMI below the normal range, your health care provider may recommend lifestyle changes to lose weight or monitor your progress. These include a reduced caloric intake, a regular exercise program, and improved dietary choices.
There are a number of factors that can affect your BMI, including your age, gender, family health history, diet and activity level. It’s important to talk with your health care provider about your body fat levels and other health conditions to help you make the best decision for yourself or your family.
In most cases, a BMI of over 25 is considered overweight and a BMI under 20 is considered normal weight. The National Institutes of Health recommends that women should aim for a BMI between 18.5 and 24 and men should aim for a BMI of between 24.9 and 29.
The proper way to calculate your BMI is to measure your height and weight with a tape measure. A soft tape measure, preferably one that does not dig into your skin or cause discomfort, should be used to take the measurements.
Once you have the right measurements, you can calculate your BMI by entering them into this calculator. The result will be displayed in a chart, which will show you which weight category your BMI falls into.
You can then compare your results with the charts to find out where you fit into the healthy weight range for your age. If you have a BMI outside the normal range, your health care provider will probably look at other factors such as your diet and exercise habits, skinfold thickness, and your waist size to determine your health risks.
In most people, BMI is fairly accurate in estimating body fat. But in some groups, such as people with a very muscular physique and those who are very old or ill, it can be less accurate. This is because muscles tend to store more water than fat, which can affect your BMI.