# Determine Your Healthy Weight with BMI Calculator

Updated on February 12, 2013

## Normal Weight and the BMI

The body mass index or BMI, also known as Quetelet index, is used to measure the human body shape based on the weight and height of an individual. It is defined as the body mass of an individual divided by the square of his/ her height. In June 1998, the National Institutes of Health announced their BMI guidelines for keeping health practitioners like dietitians, doctors, researchers, and government agencies are on a similar page. BMI calculator is used to help people determine whether or not their weight is healthy. It uses a formula to compare height and weight to measure the body fat of an individual. However, it does not measure the body fat of the person directly; instead, it correlates closely to the direct measures of the individual’s body fat. Also, remember that this calculator is used to measure the body mass index for adult men and women above the age of 20 years.

## BMI Categories

As mentioned, BMI calculator measure body fat by comparing height and weight of an individual. The weight is measured in pounds by dividing it with the height of the individual and the result is multiplied by 703, which is a conversion factor. Based on this formula, lets calculate the body mass index of a person who weighs 170 pounds with a height of 5 feet 5 inches. First, convert the height into inches and 5 feet 5 inches is equal to 65 inches. Now divide the weight by the height in inches squared and multiply the result by 703. It is like [170 ÷ (65)2] x 703 = 28.3. Thus, the BMI of the person is 28.3. Now consider the definitions of National Institutes of Health, which states that a body mass index of 18.5-24.9 is healthy, 25 and 29.9 is overweight and 30 or higher is obese. Thus, based on this body mass index table we can say that this person is overweight.

However, there are certain other factors that one needs to consider while determining whether or not they have healthy weight. One of such factors is having a balanced height waist measurement. This is important because there are some drawbacks in the method of using body mass index calculator to determine healthy weight. It only measures the body’s fatness. For a person who has muscular build or for an athlete this method overestimates the body fat. It will show the person as overweight or obese even when all they have is muscle mass. Likewise, this method will show that older people or people who lost muscle mass recently this method will underestimate the body fatness. Besides, it overlooks other important factors such as age and gender when calculating your body mass index.

The body mass index calculator is a good option to understand where you stand in terms of healthy weight, but remember it is not a diagnostic tool. Many health care experts use this tool to determine the healthy weight of an individual along with other factors like height waist measurement, body fat percentage, diet and family history, and exercise patterns. If you consider all these factors to determine your healthy weight, BMI calculator is a great option to gauge your weight related health risks.

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