What Is BMI?

What Is BMI? - Body Tracker

BMI Calculator For Men, Women & Kids

Find out what your BMI score means

A lot of people want to know how much they should weigh. While the ideal weight depends on a number of factors, Body Mass Index (BMI) is one way to assess your weight. It is a measure of your health calculated using your height and weight. It suggests whether you have a healthy weight for your height.

Knowing your BMI is important because it gives a good estimate of weight-related health risks. Excessive weight can put the person at risk of developing various chronic conditions including obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and heart-related problems. Though not every overweight person develops these problems, not paying attention to the extra pounds can lead to issues in the future.

To calculate your BMI, you can use our BMI calculator and find out whether you have a healthy weight or not. You can use it to check the Body Mass Index of adults as well as children in your family. The calculator gives you an idea of how much you weigh in relation to your height.

What is The Body Mass Index?

Body Mass Index is a measurement of a person’s weight in relation to his/her height. While most people are interested in direct weight, body mass index is a better representation of a person’s weight.

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It is more like an indicator of a person’s health. BMI relates to the total fat of the body. This means it indicates health risks for a person.

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BMI is generally used by healthcare professionals to test obese and overweight people. BMI is more often used to assess the risks associated with overweight and obesity. People with a high BMI have an increased risk of developing conditions like:

● Type 2 diabetes

● High blood cholesterol

● High blood pressure

● Heart diseases

● Stroke

● Joint and bone diseases like arthritis

● Certain types of cancers

● Sleep problems

● Gallbladder issues

● Premature death

Body Mass Index is one of the tools used to calculate health risks.

Some other factors like cholesterol level, blood pressure, sugar level, gender, age, family history of heart problems, level of physical activity, waist circumference, smoking habits and others are also taken into account when assessing the health risks of a person.

According to the guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO), the value of BMI applies to weight assessment in the following categories:

● BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 – Normal

● BMI between 25 and 29.9 – Overweight

● BMI below 18.5 – Underweight

● BMI of 30 and Above – Obese

BMI is a preferred mode of measurement for most health professionals. It is an accurate and easy screening tool that helps doctors and professionals assess a person’s health in association with his/her weight.

History of BMI

The use of a calculator to assess the risks of obesity is an old concept. In the 19th century, Adolphe Quetelet, a Belgian statistician, mathematician, astronomer and sociologist had introduced the basis for BMI with the development of ‘social physics’.

The statistician had come up with the Quetelet Index of Obesity that could measure a person’s obesity by dividing the weight in kilograms by the square of his/her height in inches.

Doctors and medical professionals developed an interest in an index that evaluates body fat due to the observed increase in obesity in high-society Western adults. In 1972, Ancel Keys along with others had published a paper named ‘Journal of Chronic Diseases.

It was in this paper that the first-ever reference to the modern term BMI (Body Mass Index) was made. It was described as the ratio of human body weight to squared height.

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In the paper, Keys also argued that the calculation termed BMI was at least as good as another relative weight index for the indication of obesity. He had deemed the index to be suitable for population studies rather than individual measurement. However, because of its simple nature, it became popular for preliminary diagnosis.

During the 70s, researchers noticed in the reports of the Seven Countries study that BMI could prove to be a great tool for obesity and weight-related issues. Before the 1980s, practitioners generally used weight-to-height tables that consisted of ideal body weight ranges for every inch of body height.

These tables were different for men and women. Such tables had limitations as they were based on just weights and did not focus on body composition.

Body Mass Index was not perfect as it considered only weight and height and not other factors like gender, age and physical activity.

It provides a numeric measure of the thinness or thickness of an individual to let doctors identify and discuss weight problems with patients. It was designed to be used as a simple method of identifying the sedentary population.

It was believed to overestimate obesity in some cases and underestimate in some others. Additional metrics like waist circumference could add to the value of BMI.

Body Mass Index became the universal standard for obesity measurements in the 80s. It was in the late 90s that the population came to know about this index when the government introduced a program to encourage healthy diet and exercise.

In 1998, the values for BMI were revised by the National Institute of Health to match international guidelines.

The threshold was moved from 27.8 to 25 and 30 million Americans who previously belonged to the ‘healthy weight’ category shifted to the ‘overweight’ category. The NIH now suggests that doctors should include BMI as a part of the assessment of a patient’s overall health.

BMI Calculator

A BMI calculator is a tool designed to help you find out whether you have a healthy weight. It calculates your body mass index on the basis of the parameters you provide.

You can simply enter the measurements of your weight and height in the metrics of your choice and you get the estimate of your body mass index that suggests a lot about your health. BMI Calculator lets you input the weight and height in different units of measurement.

A Body Mass Index Calculator uses the mathematical formula BMI = (weight in kilograms) / (height in metres)2. It does the calculation automatically so that you don’t need to remember any formula or do any math. It gives you an idea of how your weight compares to standard values.

The calculator lets you check your BMI value to find out if you possess a healthy weight.

The BMI is based on your height and weight and is one of the most effective ways to find if you are healthy. The results can be interpreted as follows:


If your BMI is less than 18.5, you are underweight. This can be a sign that you are either ill or not eating enough.

Being underweight is not good for health as it can contribute to health problems like fragile bones, fatigue and weakened immune system. If the BMI calculator tells you that you are underweight, it is worth checking why.

You might be suffering from a medical condition that causes your weight to drop. Another reason can be appetite loss due to stress.

There are chances you find it difficult to eat a healthy diet or maybe trying to lose weight. You might have developed an eating disorder which a physician can help you treat.

Being underweight is dangerous to your health as it can lead to nutritional deficiencies, weak immunity, fertility issues and other problems.

Switching to a healthy, balanced diet can often help achieve a healthy weight. To do this, focus on regular healthy meals rich in nutrients and avoid high-calorie foods that increase your body fat.

Healthy Weight

A BMI value in the range of 18.5 to 24.9 suggests a healthy weight. You need not worry about your health if your weight falls in a healthy range.

Just remember to keep doing a great job and maintain the weight. You can follow an effective diet and fitness regime to stay fit and healthy in future.


Those who have a BMI in the range of 25 to 29.9 are considered overweight. When your BMI is higher, you have an increased risk of developing chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart problem and hypertension.

The reason for being overweight can be your genes, your eating patterns, your activity levels, medical conditions, medication, your environment or a combination of any of these.

To lower your BMI to reach healthy levels, you can consider losing some weight through proper diet and exercise. Some small yet sustainable changes in your lifestyle can make a big difference in your future health.

You can start by keeping track of what you eat and avoid snacking now and then to reduce your calorie intake. Next, you can make small changes to your meals to bring down the daily calorie intake. Instead of eliminating food groups from the diet, limit the portion size to lose some weight.

Next, you can ask your doctor about the side effects of any medication you are taking. A new medicine you may be prescribed can have adverse effects like weight gain. Ensure that you get a good sleep to control weight.

Take care of your gut health to maintain your metabolism. Include probiotics like yogurt, fruits and vegetables in your diet to avoid weight gain. Finally, stay active to burn calories. Indulge in mild exercises like walking to boost your weight loss effort.


If your BMI is 30 or more, you are considered obese. If you have a higher BMI, it is really important to deal with the situation because obesity can lead to a number of serious and life-threatening problems.

Apart from the risks of chronic diseases and certain types of cancers, obesity affects your quality of life and degrades your mental health and cognition.

Obesity is getting increasingly common in people living a modern lifestyle which involves eating high-calorie foods and sitting at desks for long hours. Apart from this, there are some other medical conditions that sometimes lead to obesity.

This health condition can prove to be really dangerous if steps are not taken to lose weight and bring the BMI down.

The most effective way to treat obesity is to eat a healthy diet and do regular exercise. You can consult a physician or health professional to get advice on your diet plan and exercise regime.

You can indulge in moderate activities like jogging, swimming, walking or playing some outdoor games for a few hours every week. You should lower your food portions and avoid unnecessary snacking on unhealthy items.

If lifestyle changes don’t work, you can ask your doctor to prescribe some medications that help. In some cases, surgeries are also recommended.

Body Mass Index Formula

BMI or Body Mass Index of an individual is calculated using a mathematical formula. This calculation gives the accurate index of the person’s body mass which can be used to verify if the person has a healthy weight.

The formula is

BMI = (weight in kilograms) divided by (square of height in metres)


BMI = kg/(m)2

Another way is to divide the weight in pounds by the height in inches squared and then multiplying the result by the conversion factor 703.

So for a person who weighs 150 pounds and is 5 feet and 5 inches tall, the body mass index will be calculated like

BMI = [150 / (65)2] x 703 = 24.96

A normal BMI range is 18.5 to 24.9 and shows that the person has a normal weight for his/her height.

A BMI value higher or lower than this range suggests health risks and the person needs medical attention.

Body Mass Index can also be estimated with the use of tables containing weights and heights. You can match your height in inches to weight in pounds in these charts to get an idea of your BMI.

These weight and height guide charts also suggest how much you should weigh for your height.

Alternatively, you can use a BMI calculator tool to calculate your BMI accurately by just entering your height and weight measures.

Using this calculator is extremely easy as you get your BMI calculated with just a press of a button. It saves you from having to use any formula to get your BMI value.

You also don’t need to make any calculations as the calculator takes care of it.

BMI Calculator For Men

Maintaining healthy body weight is crucial for a man’s health and well-being. A BMI calculator is a useful tool that helps you determine if your weight is in a healthy range.

BMI calculator for men lets you enter your weight and height and returns a BMI value corresponding to a weight category like normal, underweight, overweight or obese. BMI is one of the most amazing tools used to assess risks of weight-related health problems.

To calculate your body mass index, you don’t need too many measurements. You just need to enter your height and weight.

Find the accurate weight in the early morning by weighing yourself. You can then measure your height and use the BMI calculator for men to get the result.

Apart from this, you can use a body mass index chart for men that contains weight and height values and the corresponding BMI values.

Just match your height and weight measurements and note your body mass index from the chart. Once you know what your BMI is, you can determine the status of your weight by looking at the following guideline:

● BMI below 18.5 – Underweight

● BMI in the range 18.5-24.9 – Normal

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● BMI between 25 and 29.9 – Overweight

● BMI values 30 and higher – Obese

Men who are overweight and obese have a higher risk of developing chronic health conditions like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, depression, hypertension, certain types of cancers and stroke.

However, there are ways to minimize your risks and lower your BMI. You can adopt a healthy diet and become physically active to lose weight.

BMI calculator is just one tool that indicates risks of weight-related problems. It is advisable to take other factors into consideration including genes, smoking and other habits, physical activity level and more.

Another metric that gauges your overall health is Body Surface Area and it depends on your gender, age, height and weight. Your waist circumference also determines your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

If the BMI values calculated by the tool for men fall into either overweight, obese or underweight categories, you can take advice from your doctor.

He can better help you determine the risk factors for your health and devise an effective plan to improve and maintain your overall health.

Learn more about BMI for men

BMI Calculator For Women

The BMI calculation for women is pretty much the same as that for men. A BMI calculator for women calculates your body mass index on the basis of the weight and height you provide.

This value indicates whether you are underweight, overweight, obese or have a healthy weight. The BMI ranges for men and women are the same as the risks of developing weight-related disorders apply to both genders.

Recent research suggests an association between a higher BMI and an increased risk of chronic conditions like heart disease, blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, gallbladder disease and others.

Being overweight and obese are also associated with osteoarthritis and some types of cancers like breast cancer. While the BMI calculator works well for most women, there are certain conditions where further evaluation may be necessary.

A limitation of a BMI calculator is that it does not show where the body fat is stored. This means some women can have a healthy BMI value while carrying a lot of fat.

The fat accumulated near the abdomen and internal organs are more harmful than weight around the hips and thighs. A study indicates that people who carry weight around their middle part are high at risk though their BMI is healthy.

Those who have higher BMIs but possess weight in other parts of the body are at a lower risk of developing weight-related issues.

It is a good idea to consider other measurements like waist-to-hip ratio and waist-to-height ratio to complement the results of a BMI calculator.

The waist-to-hip ratio is obtained by dividing your waist circumference in cms by the hip measurement in cms. A ratio of 0.85 or more is considered to be a sign of increased health risk for women.

To obtain your waist-to-height ratio, you can divide the waist by height. The recommended ratio is no more than 0.5 to maintain good health.

If your BMI falls in overweight or obese categories, you can use it as a starting point towards better health.

You can lower your BMI by focusing on long-term weight loss goals. You can start with a 10% weight loss of the total body weight.

While that may seem to be too low, it is a great push when you are overweight. Small amounts of weight loss can make a considerable effect on health while lowering the risks of weight-related issues.

It is unrealistic for somebody with a BMI of more than 30 to get into a normal range. What makes the difference is whether you strive towards a better future.

You should aim to lose a modest amount of weight and evaluate your progress at regular intervals.

Know where you stood yesterday and where you are today. You can start by monitoring your food habits and calorie intake for a few days. You can then work towards changing unhealthy habits.

Just like food, you should monitor your physical activity as well. You can set everyday targets for moving to make sure you don’t spend the day inactive.

Indulge in moderate physical activities to boost your metabolism and promote weight loss. Pick an activity that you find fun and easy and make it your regular workout.

Eat clean foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, yogurt and whole grains and cut down on processed foods, fried foods, sugary beverages and snacks.

Focusing on a combination of diet and exercise is the ultimate secret to losing weight and maintaining a healthy BMI level.

Learn more about BMI for women

BMI Calculator For Kids

Body Mass Index is an important aspect of health in kids and teens. It is a measure used to determine if the child has a healthy weight, is underweight or overweight. In kids, body fat changes with age.

Moreover, both girls and boys have different percentages of body fat as they grow. This is why gender and age are crucial in the BMI calculator for kids.

Tracking BMI is important for kids, starting with the age of 2 years. As BMI in children changes with age, their measurements are specified in the form of growth charts for both genders.

A child should be monitored for growth on a consistent basis. BMI values should be recorded from time to time to be able to track the growth pattern. A BMI calculator for kids helps identify whether they are gaining weight too fast or too slow.

For children, a high value of body mass index means increased risks of weight-related health issues. On the other hand, being underweight puts a child at risk of developing health problems. BMI for kids is different from that for adults because it is more dependent on age and gender.

When the BMI of a child is determined, it is converted into percentile to find where the kid fits on the basis of its gender and age group.

BMI percentiles are values that show a child’s growth in reference to other kids in the same age group. For example, the 60th percentile of a child’s BMI means the BMI value compares to 60 per cent of kids in the same gender and age group.

Talking about the BMI calculation for kids, it is not a direct measurement of body fat. Kids with a lot of muscle or a large frame can have a higher BMI but that does not mean they have excessive fat.

On the other hand, it is possible that a child with a smaller frame has a BMI value in the normal range but is quite fatty.

BMI can be less reliable for kids as they are in their growth phase. They can gain weight quickly and BMI can go up fast. It is advisable to consult the doctor to find out whether the weight gain in your child is a concern or a normal aspect of his/her development.

Here are the interpretations that help you use the BMI calculation of your child to assess their health.

● BMI value is 5th percentile or more and less than 85thpercentile for height, weight, age and gender – Healthy Weight

● BMI is lower than 5th percentile for the gender, height, weight and age – Underweight

● BMI between 85th percentile and 95th percentile – Overweight

● BMI is at or above 95th percentile – Obese

This suggests that it is important to consider BMI as a trend for kids rather than specific numbers. A single value can mislead you when assessing the growth of your child.

Though the BMI calculator for kids is a great tool that indicates healthy growth and development, it is not the complete measure of body fat. You should talk to your doctor about any concerns you may have.

Learn more about BMI for Kids

BMI Calculator With Waist

With the increasing number of people getting overweight and obese, new methods have been introduced to assess the health of an individual.

Being obese or overweight can cause a plethora of health risks and it becomes necessary to control the levels to reduce the risks of serious health problems.

While there are various effective methods used to find if the person has a healthy weight, the two most convenient ones are BMI and waist circumference.

While a BMI calculator is a great tool to find the body fat of a person, waist circumference can complement the results.

This is because waist circumference gives a good estimate of the fat deposited near internal organs and abdomen. It is this fat that is more responsible for fat-related problems in the body.

Doctors, health professionals and fitness specialists often use a combination of a BMI calculator and waist measure to assess if the person is obese or overweight.

The two results make it easy for the professional to estimate the risks of diabetes, heart disease and other problems. Use our BMI calculator to determine your body weight with respect to your height.

While BMI is the perfect way to confirm that a person has a healthy weight, measuring the waist can be useful in many cases.

Too much body fat around the centre area of the body can be risky as compared to the weight around your thighs and hips. While BMI measures your total body fat, waist circumference gives a better idea of visceral fat, the harmful fat coating the internal organs.

This means a combination of BMI and waist makes a highly accurate way to predict the risks of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and metabolism disorders.

BMI calculator with waist can give you a more effective estimation of your body fat. To find accurate results, it is important to measure the waist circumference properly.

To measure your waist, follow these steps:

● Position the measuring tape on your skin. You should not use it over any more than a single layer of clothing.

● Measure your waistline at a centre point between the top of your hip and the bottom of your rib. This is generally on the line of your belly button.

● Make sure you breathe normally when you measure.

● Ensure a snug position for the tape without pushing the skin inside.

When using the BMI calculation with waist measure, a value of 80cm or more suggests increased risk for women while 88cm or more indicates very high risk.

For men, the threshold for the waist is 94cm for increased risk of diseases while 102cm and higher denote greatly increased risk.

Waist circumference does not prove to be effective in some circumstances such as pregnant women, children, growing adolescents and certain ethnic groups.

If a person is suffering from a medical condition that involves enlargement of the abdomen, a BMI calculator with the waist may not give effective indications.

BMI Calculator For Athletes

A BMI Calculator works for a majority of the population. However, it can sometimes be unreliable. One such case is muscular body types.

Bodybuilders and athletes may not find BMI calculators so reliable because of the different body compositions they have.

The BMI estimate for such people can suggest their weight to be more than the normal range. A BMI calculator can show their body to be extremely fatty even when they are healthy, fit and lean.

As suggested by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, a normal range of BMI is 18.5-24.9. Those who have BMI between 25 and 29 are categorized as overweight and the ones with a value above 30 are called obese.

Such a classification goes really well for the general population where heavyweight comes from body fat and not muscle mass. Excess of body fat can lead to an increased risk of chronic diseases like hypertension, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Muscle is denser than fat and tends to raise the weight to a great extent if present in abundance in the body.

This means individuals with a lot of muscle mass will have a greater BMI.

However, as the weight comes from muscle and not fat, there are no risks of health problems in this case like the weight coming from body fat.

The body composition of athletes is different from the general population. They have a lower fat percentage though women can carry a little more body fat.

The average body fat percentage of normal males is between 18 and 24 percent. For females, it is between 25 and 31 percent. Athletes have a body fat percentage of only 6-13 percent for males and 14-20 percent for females.

This means athletes with a body fat percent of 25 or more would be considered over fatty and prone to health risks. Female athletes would be considered overweight for a BMI of 32 or more.

Athletes can estimate body fat with the use of a specialized scale or take the help of a fitness specialist to use callipers for the exact measurement.

More specialized methods are also available for athletes including DEXA scans and underwater weighing but they often need trained professionals and specialized equipment.

It is advisable to use alternative parameters like waist circumference as a measure of fitness for athletes as BMI values can be misleading for them. Not all body fat is equally dangerous.

The one that accumulates near the abdominal wall and near the internal organs tends to be more inflammatory and harmful than the fat under the skin of organs like the belly, thighs, hips and upper arms.

A waist circumference of 40 inches or more for males and 35 inches for females can be considered dangerous.

These measures indicate an excess of abdominal fat leading to a higher risk of chronic diseases. A giant build or muscular frame does not mean you don’t carry too much belly fat.

So it is advisable to use a measuring tape to find your waist circumference at the spot above the hip bones to find out if you fall in the healthy range.

Talking about the implications of BMI values, it should be noted that body fat and weight are not the only risk factors for chronic health problems.

Though not so common, athletes can be healthy on the scale and appearance and take good care of their bodies but be at risk.

If there is a history of cardiovascular issues or metabolic disorders in the family, it is important to get blood tests performed to check the levels of blood sugar, pressure, cholesterol, blood lipids and sugar tolerance to get a clear idea of the athlete’s health.

These blood tests can help you verify the health at the composition and weight of the body.

More reading – BMI calculator for athletes

BMI Calculator Risks

BMI Calculator gives a reasonable estimate of body mass index or body fat for most people. It can be used to get a good idea of obesity risks.

However, it has certain limitations as it does not provide accurate information on the body composition of the individual like bone, muscle, fat and tissues.

While this calculator is a great tool to assess the health of a person on the basis of his/her weight, it has some limitations.

BMI can sometimes underestimate body fat for people who have low muscle mass like aged individuals.

An aged person can fall in the healthy weight category even if they don’t have much muscle mass and possess more body fat. As muscle mass starts dropping after the age of 60, BMI values may not reflect the body fat accurately for these people.

It can also overestimate body fat for those who are extremely muscular. People with huge builds like athletes can sometimes fall in the category of ‘overweight’ when they are actually fit and healthy.

These individuals have a low body fat percentage but have the same BMI score as obese people.

Another risk with the BMI calculator is for small kids and adolescents who are in their growth phase.

A professional health advisor can help assess the growth of the child using charts that help estimate the healthy weight of kids. Similarly, BMI values don’t apply to pregnant women.

BMI Calculator also shows limitations for people with Asian origins. These individuals tend to accumulate intra-abdominal fat at a much lower BMI than people from other origins.

This type of fat is found deep inside the cavity of the stomach rather than under the skin. Those who have this type of weight gain pattern are known as ‘apples’ and not ‘pears’.

This implies that these people develop risks of health problems and obesity at a lower BMI than the recommended values. Intra-abdominal fat is associated with type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

The WHO has looked into this problem and verified the evidence.

However, due to variances between different populations in Asia, it has not altered the cut-off values officially.

The agency recommends that Asian people with BMI in the range 22-25 should be considered overweight while the range of 26-31 should suggest obesity for groups belonging to Asian origins.

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