What’s Your BMI?

BMI is your Body Mass Index which is calculated using your height and weight.  Your BMI is one method to determine your body fat level and is an indicator of disease risk.

There are limitations to the BMI. In athletes, or those with a muscular build, the BMI can overestimate body fat levels.  For example football players may have high BMI’s but their weight is mainly lean muscle mass not body fat.

On the other hand,  it can also underestimate body fat, such as in the elderly, or those who have lost muscle muss.  These individuals may be of normal weight, have a normal BMI but they may actually be over-fat.

The Asian American Diabetes Initiative at the Joslin Diabetes Center uses lower cutoff points for BMI and waist circumference for Asian Americans.  Asian Americans may weigh less than Caucasians, but they are more likely to develop Type II diabetes than Caucasians. BMI 18.5-23.9 is a healthy range, 24-26.9 is overweight, >27 is obese

Because of its limitations it’s important you use the BMI along with other indicators, such as waist size, % body fat levels, physical inactivity and other risk factors, chronic diseases, and not as a sole indicator of disease risk.

If your BMI is 25 or higher and you are overweight or obese, you are at increased risk for the following:

  • high blood pressure
  • high LDL cholesterol
  • low HDL cholesterol
  • high triglycerides
  • high blood sugar
  • type II diabetes
  • stroke
  • heart disease
  • gallstones
  • sleep apnea and other breathing problems
  • certain cancers, such as endometrial, breast, and colon cancer

You can calculate your BMI with the BMI widget provided by the CDC found on the “tools” page.

BMI Categories:

Underweight <18.5

Normal weight=18.5-24.9


Obesity=30 or greater









U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute.  Aim for a Healthy Weight.  http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/obesity/lose_wt/risk.htm. Accessed June 18, 2011.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Healthy Weight-it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle!  http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/adult_bmi/index.html.  Accessed June 29, 2011.



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