Body Mass Index (BMI)

Calculate your Body Mass Index with the calculator provided by Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (If you are a child or teenager, use this calculator.)

Body Mass Index (BMI) or Quetelet Index is used to determine a person’s total fat, which is related to the risk of diseases. If a person’s BMI is greater than 25, the National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute recommends weight loss, especially if the person has a high waist measurement.

BMI is frequently used to determine the following categories:

Category BMI range – kg/m2
Starvation less than 15
Underweight from 15 to 18.5
Normal from 18.5 to 25
Overweight from 25 to 30
Obese from 30 to 40
Morbidly Obese greater than 40

What to take into consideration:

  • The score may overestimate BMI for those who are greatly athletic or have a lot of muscle mass.
  • The score may be underestimated for those who are older or have a small amount of muscle mass.


About BMI for Adults

About BMI for Children & Teens

Harvard: Body Mass Index

According to the Harvard web site, BMI is only one of the many tools used to predict risk factor for diseases.

Diseases and conditions associated with obesity include the following: cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, diabetes, sleep apnea, and some types of cancers.

Waist Measurement

According to the Medical College of Wisconsin, because BMI may not be completely accurate, one should also measure their waist as this measurement is used in conjunction with BMI to help access risk.

To measure your waist, “place a tape measure around your bare abdomen just above your hip bone. Be sure that the tape is snug, but does not compress your skin, and is parallel to the floor. Relax, exhale, and measure your waist.”

You may be at risk if:

  • You are female and your waist measures more than 35 inches.
  • You are male and your waist masures more than 40 inches.

2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    mccoppin said,

    Why it is important to measure your waist:

    I am 6’2″ 225 lbs. By the online BMI alone I am 28.9 and considered “overweight,” and nearly obese To see me in person you know this is not the case. My waist is only 36 inches. I am a muscular person, and muscles tend to skew the BMI test. Do not let the BMI test alone be your only tool.

  2. 2

    Cathy said,

    So true. I have the same BMI as mccoppin, but I’m a woman. According to this chart I’m “borderline obese” yet I do not appear obese in person. I’ve asked several people if I look obese, and their response is “are you serious??? no way!” I have feminine curves, great health, and an active lifestyle. My cholesterol is 160 and BP 110/70 at almost 40 yrs old. Though I could stand to lose 10-15lb (who among us can’t?) I think the BMI chart is not an accurate means for determining health risk.

    PS: Has anyone considered that people are a little larger these days because we are well nourished? Back when the Metropolitan Life weight charts were made (and all through history, before that) people didn’t have an abundant supply of nutritious foods year-round, nor the money to afford them were they available. Perhaps they were undernourished, and therefore unable to reach their full potential?? We are rich in comparison, with easy access to nutritious foods from anywhere in the world. You just can’t compare robust, healthy moderns with the malnourished, impoverished waifs of yesteryear.

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