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How To Calculate Your BMI And Know Whether You Should Go On A Weight Loss Diet

Updated on May 23, 2011

What Is BMI

Body Mass Index or BMI is a measurement of body fat that shows you whether an individual is underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese. The BMI is calculated with a person's height and weight measurements. Both men and women can check their BMI and be aware of their current BMI status before they even begin to think about weight loss or diets.

The formula to calculate one's BMI was developed by a Belgium statistician Adolphe Quelet (1796-1874) and was known as the Quetelet Index or the Body Mass Indicator. Today, it is an accepted practice the world over to use this formula to find one's BMI and check obesity levels.

How To Calculate BMI

Note down your height and weight measures and calculate your BMI using the following formula.

BMI=Weight(in Kg)/Height(in metres)2


BMI=Weight(in pounds)*703/Height(in inches)2

Alternately, you can simply enter your height and weight into this online BMI calculator and know your BMI in a second. Standard or metric measures can be used, only choose the right calculator.

What Does My BMI Indicate

Once calculated, your BMI tells you which of the following categories you fall under.

  • Underweight = <18.5
  • Normal weight = 18.5-24.9
  • Overweight = 25-29.9
  • Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater

Knowing what category you fall into is an important and basic step for any individual wanting to take care of his/her health. Depending on this finding, you can take specific guidance from your nutritionist or dietitian on the goals you wish to achieve regarding your weight. Yes, some may have to put on weight with the right kinds of food while some have to shed some extra kilos, while still others may just require to stick to their normal weight with some weight management.

It would be worth noting that in addition to calculating your BMI, the following is also an indicator. Men having a waist size of 40 inches or more and women with a waist size of 35 inches or more also are prone to obesity related health risk.

Why overweight and obese people need to go on a weight loss diet ?

Weighing more than necessary simply means that your heart needs to pump extra harder for all your normal activities and this puts a strain on your heart and your risk of heart disease is greater. Your risk of developing related diseases such as cancer, type 2 diabetes, stroke and hypertension also doubles. In short, you have a shorter lifespan and that too your lifestyle begins to suffer because of recurring ailments and this is most certainly a drain on your pocket as well.

Is BMI calculation an accurate measure of one's body fat ?

Not necessarily. BMI is not a true reflection of one's total body fat. See the examples below.

A muscular person or athlete may have the same BMI as another person although his body fat may be less, simply because muscle is more dense than fat and takes up less space.  It also may be inferred that a muscular man may weigh more than a same sized overweight person.

Women generally have more subcutaneous fat in their bodies particularly inthe breast and hips, so the percent body fat may be higher without it being shown in the BMI and may not be a disease risk at all.

Dangerously low body fat may or may not show in your BMI and is a greater cause for worry. You see our bodies store up some fat for its proper functioning and we draw on these reserves when we need energy. When fat is not sufficient, the body consumes the muscle mass for energy supply. This being the reason for some athletes losing strength instead of gaining when they overtrain.

Therefore, make sure to keep yourself fit and healthy, eating the right foods, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and exercising portion control, hydrating your body and weight management.

Give yourself a Lifestyle Makeover for a longer healthier life worth living!

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    • Yourfitnessguru profile image

      Yourfitnessguru 7 years ago from USA

      Great article and video. Explained very clearly and concisely.

    • GojiJuiceGoodness profile image

      GojiJuiceGoodness 7 years ago from Roanoke, Virginia

      Great info! Thanks for sharing this info & the links to other hubs, sites, etc.