What Is Your Body Mass Index (BMI)?

Reviewed: March 04, 2014
By eHealthIQ
What Is Your Body Mass Index (BMI)?

BMI, or body mass index, is a measure health care professionals and fitness experts use to determine whether or not your body fat is at an acceptable range based on your height in inches and current weight. In order to calculate your BMI, divide your current weight by your height in inches. Take that number and multiply by your height in inches. Multiply that number by 703 and you will receive a final number that represents your body mass index.

The Body Mass Index and what it Represents
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have outlined a program using the BMI number to determine whether or not you are underweight, at your ideal weight, overweight or obese. Here is the program and what your BMI means:

1. If your BMI number is below 18.5, you are considered underweight.
2. If your BMI is 18.5 to 24.9, your weight is considered normal.
3. If your BMI is 25.0 to 25.9, you are considered overweight.
4. If your BMI is 30.0 or above, you are considered overweight.

If you fall within the underweight or overweight category, you may want to consider seeing your health care provider right away. If you decide not to seek medical help, you should, at a minimum take steps to lower some of the health risk factors associated with being underweight or obese. If your BMI falls within the overweight category, and you do not participate in any physical activity, eat poorly or smoke cigarettes, you should also take some steps to reduce health risk factors. If you are overweight but you get regular physical activity and maintain a balanced diet, you have lower health risk factors. However, you may want to integrate a few healthy routines in order to reduce your BMI.

The BMI and your Health
There are a few things for you to keep in mind once you determine your body mass index. First, this number is not the tell all to end all regarding your health. There are many other areas that determine the current state of your overall health. If your BMI is within the normal range that does not guarantee that you are healthy. You must factor in smoking, diet, exercise stress levels and most importantly the last time you had a full physical. Do not use the BMI as your benchmark. Make sure to follow up with your health care provider once you have calculated your BMI, and make sure you share the information with your doctor.

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