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What does your Body Mass Index (BMI) say about your health?

12:34 PM, May 16, 2011   |    comments
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Emily Hoffman, Clinical Dietician at Memorial Hospital has helpful insights regarding your BMI.

Your goal is to be at a healthful weight. The first step to reaching this goal is to determine your current weight status: Are you underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese?

A good measure for this is the Body Mass Index (BMI), a standardized method used by many health professionals to evaluate weight and body fat percentage. BMI is calculated by dividing weight in kilograms by height in meters squared. It gives you an indication of whether you are at risk of health problems that are related to being overweight or obese. If your BMI is 25 or higher, you are at risk for a number of serious health problems, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, pregnancy-related disorders, and osteoarthritis. If your BMI is greater than 30, the American Heart Association warns that this is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease.

To find your weight in kilograms, multiply your weight in pounds by 0.45. For example:
If your weight is 130 pounds: 130 divided by 2.2 = 59.09. Your weight in kilograms is 59.09.

To find your height in meters, multiply your height in inches by 0.0254. For example:
If your height is 5'6", that is 66 inches: 66 x 0.0254 = 1.6764. Your height in meters is 1.6764.

To square the number, multiply it by itself: 1.6764 x 1.6764 = 2.81

For the example above, the BMI is: 59.09 divided by 2.81 = 21.03

BMI values are interpreted as follows:

  • 18.4 or less = underweight
  • 18.5 to 24.9 = normal weight
  • 25 to 29.9 = overweight
  • 30 and over = obese


A person with a BMI of 21.03 is considered to be normal weight. What is your BMI?

Although this is a reliable method, it is not foolproof. Because muscle tissue weighs more than fat tissue, people who are very muscular may fall into the obese range when they are not obese.  BMI may also underestimate body fat in older persons and others who have lost muscle mass.

The preceding information was provided courtesy of Emily Hoffman, Clinical Dietician at Memorial Hospital.

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