“Body Mass Index (BMI) is a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters. A high BMI can be an indicator of high body fatness”.1

Definition

What is body mass index (BMI)?

Depending on the Source (DotS) the definition of BMI may vary. The (United Kingdom) NHS’s (National Health Service) definition is:

“The body mass index (BMI) is a measure that uses your height and weight to work out if your weight is healthy”.2

The (United States) National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s (NHLBI) definition is:

“Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to adult men and women”.

Calculate

How is BMI calculated?

In Healthy Weight: Body Mass Index (BMI) the (United States) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s elaborate on:

“Body Mass Index (BMI) is a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters. A high BMI can be an indicator of high body fatness. BMI can be used to screen for weight categories that may lead to health problems but it is not diagnostic of the body fatness or health of an individual”.4

Measure

What is BMI a useful measure of?

In Assessing Your Weight and Health Risk: Body Mass Index (BMI) the NHLBI elaborate on:

“BMI is a useful measure of overweight and obesity. It is calculated from your height and weight. BMI is an estimate of body fat and a good gauge of your risk for diseases that can occur with more body fat. The higher your BMI, the higher your risk for certain diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, gallstones, breathing problems, and certain cancers”.5

Ideal

What is an ideal BMI?

In What Is the Body Mass Index (BMI)? BMI Ranges the NHS elaborate on:

“For most adults, an ideal BMI is in the 18.5 to 24.9 range”.6

Limits

Does BMI have some limits?

The NHLBI explain:

“Although BMI can be used for most men and women, it does have some limits:

  • It may overestimate body fat in athletes and others who have a muscular build
  • It may underestimate body fat in older persons and others who have lost muscle”.7

In Healthy Weight: About Adult BMI – How Is BMI Used? the CDC elaborate on:

“BMI can be a screening tool, but it does not diagnose the body fatness or health of an individual. To determine if BMI is a health risk, a healthcare provider performs further assessments. Such assessments include skinfold thickness measurements, evaluations of diet, physical activity, and family history”.8

Health Care Provider

What if I would like to find out more about my BMI?

If you would like to find out more about your BMI, it may be in your best interest to choose to talk to your health care provider about this.

Health Topics A-Z

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Links

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Sources

Where may I find the Sources quoted?

You may find the Sources quoted at:

Sources

  1. Healthy Weight: Body Mass Index (BMI). Page Last Reviewed: 30 June 2020. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/ Accessed: 17 August 2020
  2. What Is the Body Mass Index (BMI)? Page Last Reviewed: 15 July 2019. NHS (National Health Service) https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/lifestyle/what-is-the-body-mass-index-bmi/ Accessed: 17 August 2020
  3. Calculate Your Body Mass Index. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/BMI/bmicalc.htm Accessed: 17 August 2020
  4. Healthy Weight: Body Mass Index (BMI). Page Last Reviewed: 30 June 2020. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/ Accessed: 17 August 2020
  5. Assessing Your Weight and Health Risk: Body Mass Index (BMI). National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/risk.htm Accessed: 17 August 2020
  6. What Is the Body Mass Index (BMI)? BMI Ranges. Page Last Reviewed: 15 July 2019. NHS (National Health Service) https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/lifestyle/what-is-the-body-mass-index-bmi/ Accessed: 17 August 2020
  7. Assessing Your Weight and Health Risk: Body Mass Index (BMI). National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/risk.htm Accessed: 17 August 2020
  8. Healthy Weight: About Adult BMI – How Is BMI Used? Page Last Reviewed: 10 April 2020. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/adult_bmi/index.html Accessed: 17 August 2020

Topic Last Updated: 17 August 2020 – Topic Last Reviewed: 17 August 2020
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