Body mass index

What is Body Mass Index?

BMI - body mass index chart

Body mass index (BMI)”>Body mass index (BMI)) BMI is a measure of body weight relative to height.

How is Body Mass Index calculated?

The BMI tool uses a formula that produces a score often used to determine if a person is underweight, at a normal weight, overweight, or obese.

BMI categories

For adults, a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered healthy (or “normal”). A person with a BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight, and a person with a BMI of 30 or more is considered obese.

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.

Use the BMI Calculator or BMI Tables to estimate your body fat. The BMI score means the following:

Below 18.5
30.0 and Above

Waist Circumference

Measuring waist circumference helps screen for possible health risks that come with overweight and obesity. If most of your fat is around your waist rather than at your hips, you’re at a higher risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes. This risk goes up with a waist size that is greater than 35 inches for women or greater than 40 inches for men. To correctly measure your waist, stand and place a tape measure around your middle, just above your hipbones. Measure your waist just after you breathe out.

Children’s BMI

Children grow at different rates at different times, so it is not always easy to tell if a child is overweight. BMI charts for children compare their height and weight to other children of their same sex and age.

For children ages 2 to19, those who are at or above the 85th percentile are considered overweight. Those who are at or above the 95th percentile are considered obese.

Body mass index chart for adults

CDC adult BMI calculator

CDC children BMI calculator

Body Mass Index frequently asked questions

  • Is 24 BMI good or bad?
  • What is the normal BMI?
  • How do you get an accurate BMI?
  • Is BMI accurate for everyone?
  • What should your BMI be if you are 5 7?
  • Is a BMI of 27 good or bad?
  • How much should a 5 3 female weigh?
  • What is a good body fat percentage?
  • What is overweight for a 13 year old?
  • How accurate is BMI if you are muscular?
  • How good is BMI as an indicator of health?
  • Is the BMI outdated?
  • How much should I weigh for my age and height?
  • What should your BMI be if you are 5 2?
  • How can I lose tummy fat fast?
  • How can I lose 15 pounds quickly?
  • What is my BMI if I weigh 160?
  • How can you calculate your body fat?

Glossary of terms - body mass index

obesity – noun more than average fatness
fat – adj. a chubby body; having much flesh (especially fat); marked by great fruitfulness; lucrative; having a relatively large diameter; containing or composed of fat; noun a soft greasy substance occurring in organic tissue and consisting of a mixture of lipids (mostly triglycerides); excess bodily weight; a kind of body tissue containing stored fat that serves as a source of energy; it also cushions and insulates vital organs; verb make fat or plump
waist – noun the narrowing of the body between the ribs and hips; the narrow part of the shoe connecting the heel and the wide part of the sole
cdc – noun a federal agency in the Department of Health and Human Services; located in Atlanta; investigates and diagnoses and tries to control or prevent diseases (especially new and unusual diseases)
diabetes – noun any of several metabolic disorders marked by excessive urination and persistent thirst
measure – noun how much there is of something that you can quantify; any maneuver made as part of progress toward a goal; musical notation for a repeating pattern of musical beats; the act or process of assigning numbers to phenomena according to a rule; measuring instrument having a sequence of marks at regular intervals; used as a reference in making measurements; a statute in draft before it becomes law; (prosody) the accent in a metrical foot of verse; a basis for comparison; a reference point against which other things can be evaluated; verb determine the measurements of something or somebody, take measurements of; place a value on; judge the worth of something; have certain dimensions; express as a number or measure or quantity
weight – noun an artifact that is heavy; sports equipment used in calisthenic exercises and weightlifting; it is not attached to anything and is raised and lowered by use of the hands and arms; the vertical force exerted by a mass as a result of gravity; the relative importance granted to something; an oppressive feeling of heavy force; (statistics) a coefficient assigned to elements of a frequency distribution in order to represent their relative importance; a unit used to measure weight; a system of units used to express the weight of something; verb present with a bias; weight down with a load
circumference – noun the size of something as given by the distance around it; the length of the closed curve of a circle; the boundary line encompassing an area or object
calculator – noun a small machine that is used for mathematical calculations; an expert at calculation (or at operating calculating machines)

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