Body Mass Index

126444696Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on a person’s height and weight that applies to adult men and women. BMI provides a simple numeric measure of a person’s thickness or thinness, which allows health professionals to discuss issues pertaining to weight with their patients. BMI is used differently for children, using percentiles instead of thresholds like underweight and overweight. The BMI percentile allows children to be compared with children of the same age, sex and height.

How to calculate

BMI can be determined using the individual’s body mass divided by the square of his or her height. BMI can also be calculated using a BMI chart which displays BMI as a function of weight which appears on the horizontal axis and height which appears on the vertical axis. It uses contour lines for different values of BMI or colors for different BMI categories.

What does it mean?

There are different categories for ones BMI. Underweight is classified as being under 18.5. Normal weight is the range of 18.5- 24.9. Overweight is the range of 25-29.9. Obesity is classified as a BMI over 30. If a person falls into the underweight or overweight categories a medical professional can help to develop a plan to get them into the normal range.