BMI - Body Mass Index

Maintaining a healthy weight for your age, sex and height is a practical way of reducing the risk of obesity. This common weight problem crops up time and time again in newspapers and on television, warning us of its links to further health conditions. But how can you differentiate being overweight from obese when the two terms are not often clearly defined? You can measure your body mass index by using a BMI calculator.

What is a BMI calculator?

It's an abbreviation for body mass index, a measurement that indicates whether a person is at a healthy weight for their age, sex and height. This calculation is used by the National Institutes of Health and The World Health Organization as a way to define obesity. The BMI test can be used by men, women and children aged 2 and above. Using the BMI calculator it is possible to recommend a healthy weight range for someone, rather than a specific weight for a particular height.

Why is it important to calculate my BMI?

Understanding your weight in relation to your age, sex and height allows you to ascertain whether you are overweight, underweight or within the healthy range. You will discover if you are classified as clinically overweight or obese when you calculate your BMI. If your body mass index reading is high you are at increased risk of suffering from a variety of chronic health problems such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease and osteoarthritis.

BMI Calculator


BMI Table

The International Classification of adult underweight, overweight and obesity according to BMI

Source: Adapted from WHO (World Health Organization), 1995, WHO, 2000 and WHO 2004.

Classification BMI Category (kg/m2) Risk of developing health problems
Underweight < 18.5 Increased
Normal Weight 18.5 - 24.9 Least
Overweight 25.0 - 29.9 Increased
Obese class I 30.0 - 34.9 High
Obese class II 35.0 - 39.9 Very high
Obese class III >= 40.0 Extremely high

How does the BMI calculator work?

The body mass index calculator takes your height in metres and multiplies the figure by itself. To calculate my BMI, I would take my weight in kilograms, and divide it by the height squared. To calculate my BMI quickly and easily, I could simply enter my height and weight into the calculator and it will quickly process the result.

You too can ascertain your ideal weight for your height by using the BMI calculator tool online. For a more accurate reading you may arrange an appointment with your doctor who may also offer sound diet and weight loss advice during the check-up.

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