All About Body Mass Index (BMI)

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a number calculated from a person’s weight and height. BMI provides a reliable indicator of body fatness for most people and is used to screen for weight categories that may lead to health problems.

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How Can I Tell if I’m at a Healthy Weight?

One way to begin to determine whether your weight is a healthy one is to calculate your “body mass index” (BMI). For most people, BMI is a reliable indicator of body fatness. It is calculated based on your height and weight.

To calculate your BMI, see the BMI Calculator. Or determine your BMI by finding your height and weight in this BMI Index Chart.

  • If your BMI is less than 18.5, it falls within the “underweight” range.
  • If your BMI is 18.5 to 24.9, it falls within the “normal” or Healthy Weight range.
  • If your BMI is 25.0 to 29.9, it falls within the “overweight” range.
  • If your BMI is 30.0 or higher, it falls within the “obese” range.

“Underweight,” “normal,” “overweight” and “obese” are all labels for ranges of weight. Obese and overweight describe ranges of weight that are greater than what is considered healthy for a given height, while underweight describes a weight that is lower than what is considered healthy. If your BMI falls outside of the “normal” or Healthy Weight range, you may want to talk to your doctor or health care provider about how you might achieve a healthier body weight. Obesity and overweight have been shown to increase the likelihood of certain diseases and other health problems.

At an individual level, BMI can be used as a screening tool but is not diagnostic of the body fatness or health of an individual. A trained healthcare provider should perform appropriate health assessments in order to evaluate an individual’s health status and risks.

Use the following chart to determine what weight category you are in.

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The Health Effects of Being Overweight and Obese

Research has shown that as people become “overweight” and “obese,” their risk for developing the following conditions increases:

  • Coronary heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon)
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Dyslipidemia (for example, high total cholesterol or high levels of triglycerides)
  • Stroke
  • Liver and Gallbladder disease
  • Sleep apnea and breathing problems
  • Osteoarthritis (a breakdown of cartilage and bone within a joint)
  • Gynecological problems (abnormal periods, infertility)

*Being overweight is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or higher; obesity is defined as a BMI of 30 or higher.

 

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/index.html