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Body Mass Index Chart

Before we go to the chart, here's a short explanation of how the Body Mass Index is measured so you can get a better understanding of what it means...

What are overweight and obesity?

Overweight refers to an excess of body weight compared to set standards. The excess weight may come from muscle, bone, fat, and/or body water. Obesity refers specifically to having an abnormally high proportion of body fat. A person can be overweight without being obese, as in the example of a bodybuilder or other athlete who has a lot of muscle. However, many people who are overweight are also obese.

How are overweight and obesity measured?

A number of methods are used to determine if someone is overweight or obese. Some are based on the relation between height and weight; others are based on measurements of body fat. The most commonly used method today is body mass index (BMI).

BMI can be used to screen for both overweight and obesity in adults. It is the measurement of choice for many obesity researchers and other health professionals, as well as the definition used in most published information on overweight and obesity. BMI is a calculation based on height and weight, and it is not gender-specific. BMI does not directly measure percent of body fat, but it is a more accurate indicator of overweight and obesity than relying on weight alone.

BMI is found by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by height in meters squared. The mathematical formula is:

weight (kg) / height squared (m²).

To determine BMI using pounds and inches, multiply your weight in pounds by 704.5,* then divide the result by your height in inches, and divide that result by your height in inches a second time. (Or you can use the BMI calculator at http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/, or check the chart shown below that has calculated BMI for you.)

* The multiplier 704.5 is used by the National Institutes of Health. Other organizations may use a slightly different multiplier; for example, the American Dietetic Association suggests multiplying by 700. The variation in outcome (a few tenths) is insignificant.

Body Mass Index Table

To use the table, find the appropriate height in the left-hand column labeled Height. Move across to a given weight. The number at the top of the column is the BMI at that height and weight. Pounds have been rounded off.

 

BMI

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

28

29

30

31

32

33

34

35

36

37

38

39

40

Wt
(Lbs)

Ht.
(In)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

58

91

96

100

105

110

115

119

124

129

134

138

143

148

153

158

162

167

172

177

181

186

191

59

94

99

104

109

114

119

124

128

133

138

143

148

153

158

163

168

173

178

183

188

193

198

60

97

102

107

112

118

123

128

133

138

143

148

153

158

163

168

174

179

184

189

194

199

204

61

100

106

111

116

122

127

132

137

143

148

153

158

164

169

174

180

185

190

195

201

206

211

62

104

109

115

120

126

131

136

142

147

153

158

164

169

175

180

186

191

196

202

207

213

218

63

107

113

118

124

130

135

141

146

152

158

163

169

175

180

186

191

197

203

208

214

220

225

64

110

116

122

128

134

140

145

151

157

163

169

174

180

186

192

197

204

209

215

221

227

232

65

114

120

126

132

138

144

150

156

162

168

174

180

186

192

198

204

210

216

222

228

234

240

66

118

124

130

136

142

148

155

161

167

173

179

186

192

198

204

210

216

223

229

235

241

247

67

121

127

134

140

146

153

159

166

172

178

185

191

198

204

211

217

223

230

236

242

249

255

68

125

131

138

144

151

158

164

171

177

184

190

197

204

210

216

223

230

236

243

249

256

262

69

128

135

142

149

155

162

169

176

182

189

196

203

210

216

223

230

236

243

250

257

263

270

70

132

139

146

153

160

167

174

181

188

195

202

209

216

222

229

236

243

250

257

264

271

278

71

136

143

150

157

165

172

179

186

193

200

208

215

222

229

236

243

250

257

265

272

279

286

72

140

147

154

162

169

177

184

191

199

206

213

221

228

235

242

250

258

265

272

279

287

294

73

144

151

159

166

174

182

189

197

204

212

219

227

235

242

250

257

265

272

280

288

295

302

74

148

155

163

171

179

186

194

202

210

218

225

233

241

249

256

264

272

280

287

295

303

311

75

152

160

168

176

184

192

200

208

216

224

232

240

248

256

264

272

279

287

295

303

311

319

76

156

164

172

180

189

197

205

213

221

230

238

246

254

263

271

279

287

295

304

312

320

328

An expert panel convened by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) in cooperation with the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), both part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) identified overweight as a BMI of 25–29.9 kg/m², and obesity as a BMI of 30 kg/m² or greater. However, overweight and obesity are not mutually exclusive, since people who are obese are also overweight.[1] Defining overweight as a BMI of 25 or greater is consistent with the recommendations of the World Health Organization [2] and most other countries.

Calculating BMI is simple, quick, and inexpensive—but it does have limitations. One problem with using BMI as a measurement tool is that very muscular people may fall into the "overweight" category when they are actually healthy and fit. Another problem with using BMI is that people who have lost muscle mass, such as the elderly, may be in the "healthy weight" category—according to their BMI—when they actually have reduced nutritional reserves. BMI, therefore, is useful as a general guideline to monitor trends in the population, but by itself is not diagnostic of an individual patient’s health status. Further evaluation of a patient should be performed to determine his or her weight status and associated health risks.

* Source: United States National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health - NIDDK Weight-Control Information Network

Click here for a printer friendly version of the chart and full article from NIDDK Statistics Related To Overweight and Obesity (opens in a new browser window).