What is BMI?
A person’s Body-Mass Index, or BMI, helps them check whether they’re a healthy weight for their height. If a person weighs less or more than the recommended weight for their height, it could lead to health issues in the future. While BMI is not the only factor individuals should consider while working on their health and fitness, it is a good starting point. To understand what your BMI is, you need to know your height and weight. You can then use an online BMI calculator to check your BMI, which will help you understand if you’re underweight, a healthy weight, overweight or obese. Or, you can measure your height in metres and weight in kilograms. Divide your weight by your height squared to calculate your BMI.
Underweight – BMI less than 18.5
Normal weight – BMI between 18.5 and 24
Overweight – BMI between 25 and 29.9
Obese – BMI above 30
1What is a BMI Calculator?
- A BMI calculator is an online or offline device which measures your body mass index. The body mass index or BMI is a measure of how much body mass you have in relation to your height and weight.
- Body mass refers not only to the fat within your body but also within muscles and bones. It is calculated by taking your weight and dividing it by the square of your height. The BMI figures let you know whether you are within normal weight range, or if you are underweight or overweight.
- Both high BMIs and low ones are known to raise a host of health problems, especially as you age. However, a high BMI in itself is not always, medically speaking, a cause for alarm. It should be viewed in conjunction with other health parameters.
2How to calculate BMI?
- To find out if your BMI or someone else’s BMI, the calculation process is simple. You can do this yourself by using a handheld calculator or do this online via websites or apps containing body mass index calculators.
- To arrive at the result yourself, you simply divide your weight in kilograms by the square of your height in metres. Or simply input your height and weight in an app or website and the BMI results will flash on your screen.
- If the numbers show that your BMI is above normal or below the normal range, you should get yourself checked by a doctor at least once every six months or at least once a year.
- A number between 18.5 to 25 kg/m2 is considered normal BMI. Less than 15 is classified as very severely underweight, from 15 to 18 is categorized as underweight, from 25 to 30 is considered overweight. From 30 to 40 is classified as obese and above 40 as very severely obese.
3Ideal BMI for Men
- Being overweight can lead to a host of health problems. If you are feeling sluggish or lacking energy, chances are that you have too much fat for your height and weight or comparatively less fat than what is recommended. Knowing what your BMI or body mass index is a good way to find out whether you are obese or underweight. Body mass index is thus basically an indicator of how much fat one’s body has depending on that person’s height and weight. The ideal BMI varies from person to person depending not only on height and weight but other factors too.
- Broadly speaking, irrespective of whether you are male or female, a BMI in the range of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered normal. Less than 18.5 is termed underweight. Over 24.9 to 30 considered overweight. Anything above 30 is categorised as obese. These figures apply across the board irrespective of ages as well. BMI is expressed in kg/m2. All you need here is common sense to know that if a person with a height of 4 feet has a BMI equal to that of a 6-feet individual, the shorter person’s BMI is clearly not ideal. Of late, there has been a consensus in the medical fraternity that the BMI cut off for Asian populations should be 23 since these populations have been found to be more vulnerable to diabetes. These indicates that there is no ideal BMI range for a gender category or even particularly for age ranges.
- The ideal BMI chart for men
|Weight in pounds (kgs in brackets)||Height in feet and inches|
|5 feet||5 feet, 3 inches||5 feet, 6 inches||5 feet, 9 inches||6 feet|
4Ideal BMI for Women
- Asking whether there is an ideal BMI for women is the same as asking whether there is an ideal BMI for men. There is no ideal range of BMI for a class of adult males any more than there is for adult females. Since BMI is a function of height and weight in relation to each other, what gender you belong to has little significance. BMI or body mass index is merely an indicator of how much fat you have in a certain amount of height. The BMI values of 18.5 to 24.9 as normal, less than 18.5 underweight, 25 to 29 overweight and above 29 as obese apply equally to men as well as women. A woman have a BMI of 35 is exposed to the same health risks as a man having a similar BMI.
- Women in general are said to have a higher percentage of body fat than men. This does not mean that there is a separate normal BMI value for men and women. This is also why women require less calories per unit of body weight as compared to men. Studies have shown that on average, men have slightly higher BMI values than women. But this difference increases with age as women tend to put on more weight as they grow older. Higher BMI cut offs for women like 30, 32 and 33 are considered normal by some studies. But it’s best to follow the consensus on what’s normal for both men and women.
- The ideal BMI chart for women
Weight in pounds (kgs in brackets)
Height in feet and inches
5 feet, 3 inches
5 feet, 6 inches
5 feet, 9 inches
5Ideal BMI for Children
- Calculating the ideal body weight or BMI for children differs from those used for adults. This is because the amount of body fat changes as children grow up.
- The accepted formula for calculating BMI in children is weight divided by the height in metres squared and the result multiplied by 703. Age and gender makes a significant difference in what makes the ideal BMI for children.
- In the case of children, the BMI of each child is matched against the percentiles for children of the same sex and age. Children with a BMI between the 85th and 95th percentile are considered overweight. Percentile is a measure that indicates how a child stands in comparison to a group having the same characteristics, such as a similar age and gender. A child whose BMI falls in the 85th percentile means that he/she weighs more than 85 percent of his/her age group.
6Risk Associated with being overweight
- A BMI of 25 to 30 means you are overweight, a BMI from 30 to 40 means you are obese and above 40 severely obese.
- World Health Organisation statistics reveal that 33 per cent of the world’s adult population is overweight while 10 per cent are obese.
- There is a higher probability that being overweight itself can lead to a lot of health problems. Your general well-being is affected once your BMI ranges anywhere from 30 and above. These problems are manifested in conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke, diabetes, gall bladder disease and gallstones, osteoarthritis, gout, sleep apnea and other breathing problems.Although not everyone fat or obese has health issues, there is a higher chance that you may suffer from these conditions if you have a family history where anyone or both of your parents have suffered from either of the above conditions.
7Risk Associated with being Underweight
- Being underweight is just as bad as being overweight. A BMI of 15 to 16 puts you in the underweight category. Anything less than 15 is considered severely underweight.
- While being overweight is one extreme of the BMI scale, underweight is the other extreme. Being underweight indicates that you are most likely malnourished or suffer from low immune function or osteoporosis.
- Being underweight can also expose you to surgical complication risks and in the case of women, lead to fertility issues due to irregular menstrual cycles. Underweight children can encounter growth and development issues.
- There are studies showing that women who are underweight are more prone to suffering from depression than those women who are at an ideal weight.
Is BMI Reliable?
Your BMI helps measure how appropriate your weight is for your height. While some people might be naturally broader, the BMI range allows for these discrepancies. The BMI measure works to help you understand whether you fall under the normal weight, overweight or obese category. People who carry extra weight, especially around their stomach, are prone to developing lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, cancer or heart issues. For adults, the BMI offers a good estimate of weight-related health problems.
Most often, physicians accurately measure your height and weight and use your BMI to understand your future health risks. If your BMI is higher than it should be, they will likely recommend some kind of diet and exercise regime to bring your weight down.
A person’s Body-Mass Index, or BMI, helps them check whether they’re a healthy weight for their height. If a person weighs less or more than the recommended weight for their height, it could lead to health issues in the future. While BMI is not the only factor individuals should consider while working on their health and fitness, it is a good starting point. To understand what your BMI is, you need to know your height and weight. You can then check your BMI against the BMI chart:
The numbers on the chart will help you understand if you’re underweight, a healthy weight, overweight or obese.
Underweight – BMI less than 18.5
Normal weight – BMI between 18.5 and 24
Overweight – BMI between 25 and 29.9
Obese – BMI above 30
Researchers have divided obesity into three categories:
Class I – BMI 30 to 34.9
Class II – BMI 35 – 39.9
Class III – BMI 40+
To arrive at your BMI figure, you need to know your weight in kilograms and your height in metres. If you know what your height is in centimetres, you can simply divide that number by 100. To calculate your BMI, you need to divide your weight in kilograms by your height in metres squared.
If you know what your weight is in pounds and what your height is in inches, you can still calculate your BMI. You need to divide your weight in pounds by your height in inches squared. You then need to multiply the amount by 703.
You can also use our BMI calculator to quickly find out your BMI. Simply input your height and weight to find out your BMI instantly.
BMI for Kids
Your child’s body develops and changes rapidly. This is why a standard adult BMI chart will not work. Instead, to keep track of whether your child is the correct weight for their height, doctors use another chart. They start with a standard BMI calculation based on your child’s height and weight. The BMI value is then used to determine how your child compares to other children of the same age and gender. This is done with the help of percentages and percentiles. The weight categories for children, based on percentiles, are:
Underweight – BMI less than the 5thpercentile
Normal Weight – BMI above the 5thpercentile but lower than the 85thpercentile
Overweight – BMI above the 85thpercentile but lower than the 95thpercentile
Obese – BMI greater than or equal to the 95thpercentile
Limitations of an Online BMI Calculator
Despite its popularity, BMI figures do have certain drawbacks when it comes to predicting future health issues. Your BMI only uses your height and weight and it does not take your body composition into account. So, the distribution of your muscle and bone mass might increase your BMI even if you’re very healthy and not likely to suffer from weight-related health issues in the near future. Let’s take a closer look at the limitations of using BMI for various age groups:
BMI is not considered accurate since it only measures excess body weight instead of excess body fat. So, it’s a good idea for adults to use BMI along with other measures to understand their future health risks. The drawbacks of using BMI for adults include:
- Older adults will likely have more fat than younger individuals who have the same BMI.
- Women are more likely to have more body fat than men who have an equivalent BMI.
- Athletes and muscular people will probably have a higher BMI than others since they have large muscle mass.
Young Adults and Children
BMI cannot take into account a child’s growth rate and maturity. Typically, BMI can be used to identify obese children, but not overweight children as a slightly higher BMI could be caused by increased fat-free mass.
Despite the slight discrepancies, it’s possible to use BMI to accurately indicate the body fat of around 90% of the population.
BMI Calculator - FAQs
1 How do I calculate my BMI?
BMI or body mass index is a measure of how much body mass an individual has according to his weight and height. To calculate your BMI, simply divide your weight in kilograms by your height squared in metres. You can also find the results instantly by entering the height and weight data in online BMI calculators. BMI is not always an appropriate indicator of a person’s health. Growing children and elderly people may have less muscle mass and therefore lower weight, thus lowering their BMI. On the other hand, athletes may have higher BMI as they put on plenty of muscle from exercise.
2How is BMI measured?
The BMI formula is quantified as kg/m2 for most adults, irrespective of gender. The formula that uses kilograms and meters is called a metric BMI formula while the one that uses pounds and inches for measurement is called the imperial BMI formula. The BMI score chart is applied to adults aged 20 and above. A BMI between 18.5 and 25 is considered normal, between 25 and 30 overweight, between 30 to 35 fat, and between 35 and 40 too fat. BMI should preferably be measured first thing in the morning before breakfast, the time when your weight is most accurate.
3What is ideal BMI for a man?
Maintaining a healthy body weight is important for everyone. According to the Center for Disease Control, men who have a BMI of 30 and above are obese, between 18.5 and 25 are considered normal, those with BMI below 18.5 are labelled underweight and those with BMI between 25 and 29 are considered overweight. As a thumb rule, taller men should weigh more than shorter guys, generally 2 to 4 points more per inch of height. The tendency to put on weight also increases with age, even though height, body frame and gender play crucial roles in determining your BMI levels.
4 What is ideal BMI for a woman?
The ideal, overweight, underweight and obese BMI ranges for men and women are the same with only minor differences. A National Institute for Health, USA study found that women who had never smoked but were overweight had a 13 per cent increased chance of dying, than those with a BMI between 22.5 and 24.9. Women who are obese or severely obese had significantly higher chances of dying early. Researchers saw a 44 per cent rise in risk of death for participants with BMI of 30 to 35 and an 88 per cent upside in risk for those with a BMI of 35 to 40, followed by a 250 per cent higher risk of dying for women whose BMIs fell between 40 and 49.
5How much should I weigh for my height and age?
BMI figures are responsive to changes in height but not to age. Maintaining a healthy BMI as you grow older becomes tough as due to a slowed metabolism you tend to put on more weight, mostly on the waistline. After 20 years of age, the height of a person becomes more or less settled. Weight therefore becomes the variable that you should take into account. It is alright for a taller person to weigh more than a shorter person. The guideline to follow here is irrespective of how old or how young you are, your BMI should fall within 18.5 and 25.
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How do you calculate BMI for males and females? ›
Body Mass Index is a simple calculation using a person's height and weight. The formula is BMI = kg/m2 where kg is a person's weight in kilograms and m2 is their height in metres squared. A BMI of 25.0 or more is overweight, while the healthy range is 18.5 to 24.9. BMI applies to most adults 18-65 years.How do I calculate my body mass index BMI? ›
Body Mass Index (BMI) is a person's weight in kilograms (or pounds) divided by the square of height in meters (or feet).What is the BMI chart for females? ›
|30.0 or higher||Obesity|
Then, calculate BMI by dividing weight in pounds (lb) by height in inches (in) squared and multiplying by a conversion factor of 703. When using a handheld calculator, if your calculator has a square function, divide weight (lb) by height (in) squared, multiply by 703, and round to one decimal place.What is the BMI for male? ›
An ideal BMI for an adult man is between 18.5 and 24.9.What is normal BMI chart? ›
|Underweight||Less than 18.5|
|Obesity||30 or greater|
|5' 5"||114 to 149 lbs.||150 to 179 lbs.|
|5' 6"||118 to 154 lbs.||155 to 185 lbs.|
|5' 7"||121 to 158 lbs.||159 to 190 lbs.|
|5' 8"||125 to 163 lbs.||164 to 196 lbs.|
If your BMI is 18.5 to 24.9, it falls within the normal or Healthy Weight range. If your BMI is 25.0 to 29.9, it falls within the overweight range. If your BMI is 30.0 or higher, it falls within the obese range.How do we calculate BMI explain with an example? ›
The body mass index (BMI) is a measure that uses your height and weight to work out if your weight is healthy. The BMI calculation divides an adult's weight in kilograms by their height in metres squared. For example, A BMI of 25 means 25kg/m2.What are 4 factors used to calculate a BMI? ›
BMI is calculated by dividing your body weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared. BMI can also be calculated by dividing your weight in pounds by your height in inches squared, then multiplying the answer by 703.
What is the normal BMI by age? ›
|Age Range||25th Percentile BMI||Average BMI|
Doctors recommend most adults keep their BMI between 18 and 24.9. Adults with a BMI over 25 are considered obese. On the other hand, older adults do better if they have a BMI between 25 and 27. Research shows that adults over 65 who are underweight experience more health issues and shorter life expectancy.How much weight should I weigh for my age? ›
|Age (years)||Lower percentile weight (lbs)||“Average” percentile weight (lbs)|
|14–15||85–95 or less||90–141|
|15–16||95–104 or less||100–152|
|16–17||104–112 or less||110–160|
|17–18||112–117 or less||117–166|
BMI changes substantially with age. After about 1 year of age, BMI-for-age begins to decline and it continues falling during the preschool years until it reaches a minimum around 4 to 6 years of age. After 4 to 6 years of age, BMI-for-age begins a gradual increase through adolescence and most of adulthood.What is my BMI if I weigh 180? ›
What's the Average Weight for Women?
|Age group (years)||Average weight (pounds)|
|60 and older||166.5|
Metropolitan tables list ideal body weight ranges for women of different heights and frame sizes. For example, a woman over 60 who is 5 feet 2 inches tall has an ideal body weight range of 108 to 143 pounds, while a 5-foot-6 woman has a desirable weight range of 120 to 159 pounds.How do I determine my ideal weight? ›
- Weight in pounds = 5 x BMI + (BMI divided by 5) x (Height in inches minus 60)
- Weight in kilograms = 2.2 x BMI + (3.5 x BMI) x (Height in meters minus 1.5)
As most of us fitness-focused folks have likely heard, BMI is far from a perfect measurement. Much of the time, and often when it really counts, the BMI measurement may actually overestimate or even underestimate a person's body fat.What is a healthy BMI in kg? ›
In studies by the National Center for Health Statistics, BMI values less than 18.5 kg/m² are considered underweight. BMI values from 18.5 kg/m² to 24.9 kg/m² are healthy. Overweight is defined as a body mass index of 25.0 to less than 30.0 kg/m².
What is the importance of BMI? ›
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.What is the normal range BMI for males and females? ›
Health experts say a number between 18.5 to 24.9 is a healthy BMI for men and people AMAB. The same goes for women and people AFAB. Check your weight classification in the BMI chart below.Is BMI calculated by gender? ›
For adults, BMI classifications do not depend on age or sex. For children and adolescents between 2 and 20 years old, BMI is interpreted relative to a child's age and sex, because the amount of body fat changes with age and varies by sex.What is the BMI of kg female? ›
BMI table for adults.
|Category||BMI range - kg/m2|
|Mild Thinness||17 - 18.5|
|Normal||18.5 - 25|
|Overweight||25 - 30|
|Obese Class I||30 - 35|