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Top 5 things to know about BMI (body mass index)

Top 5 things to know about BMI (body mass index)

BMI represents your weight in relation to height and does not measure body fat.

1. Your BMI is a single number that represents your weight in relation to your height.

This number is determined by the following equation:
703 x [body weight (lbs) / height2 (inches)]

BMI calculator

2. BMI does not measure body fat.
However, body fat can be estimated from your BMI.

What should my percent (%) body fat be?
How do body fat scales work?

3. Your BMI is used as a general guideline to categorize you as:

The rationale behind these categories is based on statistics about the rate and presence of obesity related health problems.

What are the health risks of being obese?

4. There is a relationship between BMI and obesity related health problems such as:

In general:
  • These health problems (and the risk for these health problems) increase with a BMI of 25 or more.
  • Mortality rates from all causes, especially heart disease, increase 50-100% in individuals with a BMI of 30 or more, as compared to those with a normal BMI.

What should my percent (%) body fat be?

5. There can be disadvantages to using the BMI scale:

  • Men and women use the same scale and same classifications.
  • The BMI scale can misclassify people: individuals may be categorized as overweight or obese, even though they have a normal body fat percent.

If you think you’ve been misclassified, get your body fat percent tested to see if it’s within a normal/healthy range.

How do body fat scales work?




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Stephanie Averkamp

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FitnessforWeightLoss.com was created by Stephanie Averkamp, a recognized health and fitness professional and sole-author of the content on this website. Stephanie's approach to weight loss emphasizes making small, realistic, and permanent lifestyle changes. Read more...

Stephanie Averkamp

Our Approach: Short-term solutions (like dieting) are unrealistic and ineffective because at some point they end. As soon as a diet or program ends, so do the results. Permanent weight loss is a journey; it's not a race or competition and there is no finish line. Read more...