Understanding Body Mass Index (BMI)
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Understanding BMI

bmi body mass indexBMI stands for Body Mass Index. It is a quick and simple calculation that can help you understand whether you are underweight, overweight, or a healthy weight. Though it is not an in-depth calculation, studies have shown that BMI does correlate roughly with body fat measurements obtained via more precise methods, such as densitometry, skinfold thickness measurements, or dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA). Therefore, calculating your BMI can be very useful in helping you determine where you stand in relation to your health goals.

How is BMI calculated?

BMI is calculated by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by the square of their height in meters. In other words, the calculation is BMI = x kilograms / y meters ².

Here is a sample calculation. Let’s say you are 5 foot 9 inches tall and 143 pounds. Convert those measurements to metric (you can do this with a simple Google search), and you are 1.75 meters tall and 65 kilograms in weight. Now, insert those measurements into the formula:

BMI = 65 kg / 1.75 m² = 21.22 kg/m²

Your resulting BMI is 21.22 kg/m², or simply 21.22.

What is healthy?

According to the CDC, BMI uses standard weight status categories for adults years 20 and older. The categories are the same for men and women of all body types. Here are the categories as outlined by the CDC:

Underweight — under 18.5
Healthy weight — 18.5–24.9
Overweight — 25.0–29.9
Obese — 30 and above

As you can see, those with a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 are considered of a healthy weight.

Why does it matter?

The BMI calculation doesn’t take into account various factors such as body type, muscle compilation, or gender, but it does give you a general idea of what your weight goals should be. If you have a BMI of 25.0 or over, you could very well benefit from losing some excess fat.

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