Body Mass Index (BMI) is one of the most accurate ways to determine
when extra pounds
translate into health risks. BMI is a measure which takes into account a person’s weight and
height to gauge total body fat in adults. Someone with a BMI of 26 to 27 is about 20 percent
overweight, which is generally believed to carry moderate health risks. A BMI of 30 and higher
is considered obese. The higher the BMI, the greater the risk of developing additional health
Heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure are all linked to being overweight. A BMI of 30
and over increases the risk of death from any cause by 50 to 150 percent, according to some
estimates. According to health experts, people who are overweight but have no other health risk
factors (such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure) should eat healthier and exercise to keep
from gaining additional weight. For people who are overweight and also have health risks, they
recommend trying to actively lose weight. Be sure to consult your doctor or other health professional
before beginning any exercise or weight-loss program.
In June 1998, the federal government announced guidelines which create
a new definition of a
healthy weight -- a BMI of 24 or less. So now a BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight.
Individuals who fall into the BMI range of 25 to 34.9, and have a waist size of over 40 inches
for men and 35 inches for women, are considered to be at especially high risk for health problems.
Use the BMI CALCULATOR below to figure your BMI and then refer to the
chart to see ranges
for a healthy BMI.
To use the table below, find the appropriate height in the left-hand column. Move across to a given weight. The number at the top of the column is the BMI for that height and weight. Pounds have been rounded off.
18.5 – 24.9
25.0 – 29.9
30.0 and Above