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Understanding Body Mass Index (BMI)

Body mass index (BMI) is a method of screening for a weight category using the ratio of your height to your weight. The BMI is a measure of overweight that is corrected for height. Knowing your BMI is a way to tell if you are at a healthy weight. The higher your BMI, the greater your risk for weight-related health problems.

What BMI means

  • BMI below 18.5: Underweight

  • BMI 18.5 to 24.9: Healthy weight or "ideal body weight" 

  • BMI 25 to 29.9: Overweight

  • BMI 30 and over: Obese

  • BMI 40 and over: Severe obesity 

Online BMI Calculators

Find your BMI with an online BMI calculator tool, such as these from the CDC:

Using the BMI chart

To figure out your BMI, find your height and weight (or the numbers closest to them) on the table below. Follow each column of numbers to where your height and weight meet on the table. That is your BMI.

Body Mass Index table showing BMI numbers for height and weight.

Online Medical Reviewer: Meilahn, John, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Sather, Rita, RN
Date Last Reviewed: 7/1/2016
© 2000-2016 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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