BMI for Adults

What is BMI for Adults

Body mass index (BMI) is a number that is calculated from a person’s weight and height. In most adults, the number is used to find how much of an adult’s weight is made up of fat. BMI is not as accurate as a direct measure of body fat.

How is BMI calculated?

BMI is calculated by dividing weight in kilograms by height in meters squared. It can also be calculated by dividing weight in pounds by height in inches squared, then multiplying the resulting number by 703. Charts are available to help you find your BMI quickly and easily without doing this calculation.

How is BMI interpreted?

Health care professionals use BMI charts to identify whether an adult is underweight, at a normal weight, or overweight based on the following guidelines:

  • Underweight: BMI less than 18.5.
  • Normal weight: BMI between 18.5 and 24.9.
  • Overweight: BMI between 25 and 29.9.
  • Obese: BMI of 30 and above.

BMI is usually interpreted the same for males and females.

Weight includes both fat and muscle, so someone with a muscular build, such as an athlete, may have a BMI that is higher than 24.9. In cases like these, BMI may not accurately depict body fat. To determine if excess body fat is the cause of a BMI of 25 or higher, further assessments may need to be done by a health care provider.

Why is BMI a useful tool?

BMI is used to identify a possible weight problem that may be related to a medical problem or may increase the risk for medical problems. BMI can also be used to promote changes to reach a healthy weight.


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