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Alternative Names Return to topBMI
Information Return to top
A good way to determine if your weight is healthy for your height is to calculate your body mass index (BMI). Being overweight puts strain on your heart and can lead to serious health problems. These problems include:
More than 300,000 lives could be saved in the United States each year if everyone stayed at a healthy weight!
HOW TO DETERMINE YOUR BMI
Your BMI estimates how much you should weigh, based on your height. Here are the steps to calculate it:
For example, a woman who weighs 270 pounds and is 68 inches tall has a BMI of 41.0.
Use the chart below to see what category your BMI falls into, and whether you need to be concerned about your weight.
|18.5 - 24.9||Healthy|
|25.0 - 29.9||Overweight|
|30.0 - 39.9||Obese|
|Over 40||Morbidly obese|
BMI is not always an accurate way to determine whether you need to lose weight. Here are some exceptions:
Doctors use a few different methods to determine whether you are overweight. Your doctor may also take your waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio into consideration.
In addition, a lot of other factors influence your health. These include:
Your BMI alone cannot predict your health risk, but most experts say that a BMI greater than 30 (obesity) is unhealthy. No matter what your BMI is, exercise can help reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Remember to always ask your doctor before starting an exercise program.
References Return to top
Noel MB, Thompson M, Wadland WC, Holtrop JS. Nutrition and Family Medicine: In: Rakel R, ed. Rakel: Textbook of Family Medicine. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 48.
Skelton J. Overweight and Obesity. In: Kliegman RM, Jenson HP, Stanton BF, eds. Kliegman: Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 44.Update Date: 8/22/2008 Updated by: Linda Vorvick, MD, Seattle Site Coordinator, Lecturer, Pathophysiology, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.