A high amount of body fat can lead to weight-related diseases and other health issues. Being underweight is also a health risk. Body Mass Index (BMI) and waist circumference are screening tools to estimate weight status in relation to potential disease risk. However, BMI and waist circumference are not diagnostic tools for disease risks. A trained healthcare provider should perform other health assessments to evaluate disease risk and diagnose disease status.
How to Measure and Interpret Weight Status
Adult Body Mass Index or BMI
BMI is a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters. A high BMI can indicate high body fatness, and a low BMI can indicate too low body fatness. To calculate your BMI, see the BMI Calculator. Or determine your BMI by finding your height and weight in this BMI Index Chartexternal icon.
If your BMI is less than 18.5, it falls within the underweight range.
If your BMI is 18.5 to 24.9, it falls within the normal or Healthy Weight range.
If your BMI is 25.0 to 29.9, it falls within the overweight range.
If your BMI is 30.0 or higher, it falls within the obese range.
Weight that is higher than what is considered as a healthy weight for a given height is described as overweight or obese. Weight that is lower than what is considered as healthy for a given height is described as underweight.1
At an individual level, BMI can be used as a screening tool but is not diagnostic of the body fatness or health of an individual. A trained healthcare provider should perform appropriate health assessments in order to evaluate an individual’s health status and risks.
How to Measure Height and Weight for BMI
Height and weight must be measured to calculate BMI. It is most accurate to measure height in meters and weight in kilograms. However, the BMI formula has been adapted for height measured in inches and weight measured in pounds. These measurements can be taken in a healthcare provider’s office, or at home using a tape measure and scale