What is BMI? How to Calculate Your Body Mass Index

Maintaining a normal weight is essential to overall health. However, anyone who’s trying to lose weight will tell you that it’s not that easy. It involves discipline, exercise, and eating the right diet. Aside from these, it’s also helpful to measure your progress. One measure that you can use in weight management is the body mass index or BMI.

What is Body Mass Index or BMI?

Body Mass Index
Body Mass Index

The body mass index or BMI is the calculation of one’s body weight in relation to height. It’s used as a screening tool to indicate whether an individual is underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese for their height.

How to Determine BMI

If you want to know your BMI, you can use this formula: weight (kg) / height (m)2. For example, if your weight is 70 kilograms and your height is 1.73 meters, your BMI is 70 / 1.732 = 23.39 . Alternatively, you can also use this formula: weight (lbs) / height (in)2 x 703 . For example, if your weight is 140 pounds and your height is 67 inches, your BMI is 140 / 672 x 703 = 21.93.

BMI Categories

After knowing your BMI, the next thing you have to do is determine what weight category you belong to. Take note of the following:

  • BMI of less than 18.5 = Underweight
  • BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 = Normal weight
  • BMI of 25 to 29.9 = Overweight
  • BMI of 30 or higher = Obese

How Is BMI Used?

BMI is not that accurate to be used as a diagnostic tool. Instead, it is used as a screening tool to identify weight problems in adults. It’s an estimate of body fat and can be used to assess a person’s risk for diseases associated with being overweight or obese.

Body Mass Index
Body Mass Index

The higher the BMI, the higher the risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and osteoarthritis. Many argue that the BMI is too general and doesn’t consider the build, gender, and age of a person. For example, some athletes may be considered overweight when using BMI measurements because of their muscle content. Also, as people age, the bone density decreases. Although it may appear that their weight is within the normal BMI range, the measurement may need to be scaled down to reflect this.

Despite these limitations, it’s still a good idea to monitor your BMI. For people who are trying to lose weight, the normal BMI provides them a goal to aim for. In addition, based on the BMI, health professionals can identify people who may have an eating disorder or alert them to health problems associated with being overweight.


With the rise of obesity-related illnesses all over the world, anything that helps educate people about proper weight management is definitely a good thing. By simply knowing and trying to maintain a normal BMI, you can put your health on the right track.

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