Calculating BMI (Body Mass Index)

What is body mass index and just how useful is it? Calculating BMI is simple but is it an accurate measure of your body fat percentage?

With obesity on the rise, more and more people are taking proactive measures to ensure they are at a healthy weight. One way to do this is through calculating BMI or Body Mass Index...

An individual's BMI considers the relationship of height and weight, which is associated with body fat and health. This is a method that can measure both men and women.

When calculating BMI, a few tools are needed. First, an accurate scale will be needed to measure weight. Next, height will need to be determined.

If this is being done at home, a tape measure will suffice. More commonly, a single device can be used to measure both - a stadiometer, usually found in a doctor's office or clinic. Please don't go and buy one yourself - absolutely no need!

Once those two measurements are taken, if not already, the numbers are converted to the metric system. Pounds are put into kilograms and feet and inches are converted to meters, and then squared. The equation looks like this:

  • BMI= kg/m2

The result of this equation is the BMI. Not a mathematician?

Click here to use this free bmi calculator

There are also BMI charts available, where you can match your weight on one side, with your height on the other. When the row and column meet, your BMI is found.

Click here to see the bmi chart

Once you know your BMI, you are able to see which of the four categories you fit: underweight, normal, overweight, or obese.

  • Underweight = 18.5

  • Normal weight = 18.5-24.9

  • Overweight = 25-29.9

  • Obesity = 30 or greater

Once the BMI is found, you can then see what type of risk you are at (according to the powers that invented BMI of course) for developing related diseases.

Those with a BMI of 25-29 are at an increased risk of developing disease, and depending on waist size, this BMI could put them into a high-risk category. Those at the obesity levels are at a very high or extremely high risk.

Some diseases and disorders linked high body fat are type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and certain cancers. According the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one killer of women.

It is said that something as simple as a body mass index equation could be a lifesaver. Use BMI with caution however, as it can misclassify...

The test is not designed to measure the body mass index of body builders or that of frail and elderly people. Nor does it take into consideration the location of body fat.

In fact calculating BMI does not and cannot measure your body fat. It is based on the assumption that your lifestyle and circumstances falls alongside the average population... or at least within a range.