Interpreting your Body Mass Index

Body Mass Index

The Body Mass Index, known in short as BMI is perhaps the most talked-about word in the area of health and fitness. Known in some quarters as the Quetelet index, it is used to identify if a person is obese and how far along are you.

Quantifying the amount of tissue mass

What the BMI does really is to try and clearly project the amount of tissue mass of anyone. It is not difficult to calculate as you can use a calculator or refer to the chart. This is done through verifying your muscle, fat and bone within your body.

The BMI Formula

Developed by Adolphe Quintelet, this formula can be applied to anyone across any gender, age or background. Basically, the formula is:
BMI = x KG / (y M * y M)
Here, it can be stated that:

  • x refers to the bodyweight in kilograms
  • y refers to the height in meters
  • If you are 180cm tall and weighs 80kgs, then it should be calculated as
  • 80/(1.80 x 1.80) = 22.22
  • This means that your BMI is 22.22

You can then refer to the chart and see in which category you belong to. Your ideal BMI should be between 18.5 and 25.0 where you are considered as healthy weight. Anything in between would mean you would need to take further action to overcome this issue. This include changing your diet habits, among others.

Categories of obesity

It has been mentioned that the values in the categories of BMI might differ between continents but generally, it can be referred as below:

  • Very severely underweight – BMI of below 15.0
  • Severely underweight – BMI between 15.0 and 16.0
  • Underweight – BMI between 16.0 and 18.5
  • Normal or considered as healthy – BMI between 18.5 and 25.0
  • Overweight – BMI between 25.0 and 30.0
  • Moderately obese – BMI between 30.0 and 35.0
  • Severely obese – BMI between 35.0 and 40.0
  • Very severely obese – BMI above 40.0

Take note that for the obese categories of moderately obese, severely obese and very severely obese, they are known as Obese Class I, Class II and Class III respectively.


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