The Body Mass Index calculator (BMI) is a simple tool to check if your weight is
in the proper range compared with your height. The range where your BMI will fall
into should tell you if you are considered to be overweight, underweight or obese
according to standards established by the World Health Organization (WHO). Before
you proceed with this calculation you should be aware that BMI values are considered
only a very approximate assessment of your weight status and you should not trust
on BMI only to decide if you need to undergo a weight reduction program. If you think
that you are overweight, you should definitively consult a physician before undergoing
any diet or workout program.
Despite its limitations the BMI offer a more accurate assessment of body composition
with respect to measuring your bodyweight alone. For example, if you are a 190 pounds
individual you would not be considered overweight if you are 6' tall and above. Your
weight alone would not be sufficient to produce this information.
The BMI ranges are as follow: a value between 18.5 to 25 represents a healthy weight
value. BMI values below 18.5 indicate that a person is underweight, while BMIs between
25 and 30 are representative of an overweight person. BMI above 30 can be interpreted
as sign of obesity.
As mentioned above, caution should be exercised when interpreting BMI values. The
BMI it is not an accurate assessment of body fat percentage. The BMI is just a ratio
between your total body weight and the square of your height. As a matter of fact,
the weight that is used in calculating the BMI is the total body-weight and does
not take into account the percentage of fat, and the bone density, that contribute
to the weight value.
As a consequence, people who have a strong muscular structure (such as bodybuilders
and strength athletes in general) may have BMI values that fall into the overweight
category, even though their percentage of body fat is very low. For example, a body
builder who is 5'10" tall can easily weight above 190 pounds but still have a percentage
of body fat below 10%. Similarly, a short person with a weak muscular structure can
have a BMI in the healthy range even though his/her fat percentage may be very high.
In spite of its limitations, the BMI is a good starting point to assess your body
fat composition. Monitoring the changes in your BMI as you proceed through a diet
and exercise program can help you track your improvements.
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