BMI stands for body mass index, or Quetelet index, and it’s value is determined by body mass (weight) divided by the square of the body height. It’s shown in units of kg/m2, weight in kg and height in metres.
Once you have your BMI, you will then be categorized as either underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese. If you’re classed as overweight or obese then you increase the risk of developing diseases such as stroke, osteoarthritis, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. So the risks are high.
With 2 out of 3 adults in USA being overweight or obese this is a serious problem that isn’t going away. As a guide, overweight refers to an excess amount of body weight, which could be attributed to bone, fat, muscles and water. Obesity generally refers to an excess amount of body fat.
BMI is internationally recognised as a reliable indicator of total body fat for both sexes over the age of 20, however there are limitations that need to be taken into consideration:
- In athletes it may not take into account muscular build and overestimate levels of fat
- In elderly it may underestimate fat levels due to loss of muscle.
Standard BMI categories
BMI (kg/m2) Weight Status
Below 18.5 – Underweight
18.5 to 24.9 – Normal
25 to 29.9 – Overweight
30 and over – Obese
Use this BMI calculator to find out your status:
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