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Calculate BMI

Calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI)


What is the Body Mass Index (BMI), and how to calculate?

What is the Body Mass Index (BMI)?

The Body Mass Index (BMI) is a simple, commonly used tool for categorizing individuals based on their weight relative to their height. It is a useful, indirect measure to determine whether a person has a healthy weight for someone of his or her height.

How is BMI calculated?

BMI is calculated by dividing a person's weight in kilograms by the square of his or her height in meters. The formula is:

BMI = weight in kg / (height in m)²

BMI categories and their meaning

The World Health Organization (WHO) has established the following categories for adults:

  • Underweight: BMI < 18.5
  • Normal weight: BMI 18.5 – 24.9
  • Overweight: BMI 25 – 29.9
  • Obesity: BMI ≥ 30

It's important to note that these categories may not apply to all populations and individual differences should be taken into account.

Advantages of using BMI

  • Simple and cheap: BMI can easily be calculated and doesn't require specialized tools or training.
  • Standardization: It provides a standardized method that's recognized and used worldwide.
  • Risk assessment: It helps in identifying individuals who may be at risk of health problems related to being overweight or underweight.

Limitations of BMI

  • Doesn't differentiate between fat and muscles: BMI doesn't take into account body composition. A very muscular person might be classified as overweight.
  • Not suitable for everyone: It may not be suitable for athletes, children, the elderly, and those with a very muscular build.
  • Not a direct measure: It doesn't directly measure body fat, so it can't be used as a diagnostic tool.

Alternatives to BMI

While BMI is a useful general indicator, there are other measurements that can give a more accurate picture of health:

  • Waist-to-hip ratio: Measures the ratio between the circumference of the waist and the hips.
  • Skinfold measurement: Used to measure subcutaneous fat directly.
  • Bioelectrical impedance: A device that measures the body's electrical resistance to estimate body fat.


The Body Mass Index is a useful and simple tool to get a general idea if someone has a healthy weight for his or her height. Although it has its limitations, it provides a good starting point for individuals and health workers to begin the conversation about weight and health. However, it's essential to remember that health is a complex subject, and it's advisable to get a comprehensive assessment from a qualified health worker.

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