Body Mass Index Meaning: 5 Main Factors To Learn About BMI


Body mass index measures body fat based on height and weight, which applies to adult men and women.

  • A person’s BMI can be determined by dividing their weight in kilograms by the square of their height in meters (kg/m2).

The WHO considers a person with a BMI less than 18.5 or above 25 to be underweight

  • 18.5-24.9 to be healthy
  • 25- 29.9 to be obese

Body Mass Index Meaning

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that BMI is used to indicate obesity because it is a simple and inexpensive screening method for body fat.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) advises that adults maintain a healthy weight throughout life; this may be particularly important for preventing cancer since obesity has been associated with several types of cancer. It recommends eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly.

Normal Body Mass Index

  • Normal body mass index is typically 18.5-24.9. A body mass index (BMI) of 25 or more indicates that a person is overweight, and a BMI of 30 indicates that a person is obese.

Obesity is a risk factor for several chronic diseases, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

Body Mass Index Classification

BMI is just one measure of obesity. Other measures include waist circumference and body fat percentage.

  • To calculate your BMI, you can use a BMI calculator.

Body Mass Index Example

For example, a person who weighs 80 kilograms and is 1.8 meters tall would have a BMI of 24.69 (80 divided by 1.8 squared).

  • BMI does not consider factors such as muscle mass, and it can be inaccurate for people who are very short or very tall.

Body Mass Index For Women

A healthy BMI for women is typically between 18.5 and 24.9.

If your BMI is below 18.5, you may be considered underweight, and above 24.9, you may be regarded as overweight or obese.

Body Mass Index For Men

BMI is a calculation that uses height and weight to estimate body fat. For men, a BMI of 18.5-24.9 is considered normal, 25-29.9 is overweight, and 30 or greater is obese. Body mass index for men is a helpful tool, but it does have some limitations.

  • For example, it doesn’t account for body composition (muscle to fat) ratio).

So, someone who is very muscular may have a high BMI but not be overweight. Conversely, someone with a normal BMI may have too much body fat and be at risk for health problems.

A BMI test is just one piece of the puzzle when assessing your health.


According to a 2005 review published in the International Journal of Obesity, the BMI index is an acceptable method for assessing overweight.

  • Still, waist circumference measurement should complement body mass index since it provides a better indicator of cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and diabetes.

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