Body Mass Index And Health

Nutrition
Body Mass Index and Health
Insights
INSIGHT
March 2000
16
A Publication of the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion
Table 2 can also be used to estimate BMI. Find height in inches.
Many Americans are becoming overweight or obese (1-3).
Move across to the right and choose the nearest weight in
These conditions can lead to chronic diseases such as high
pounds. BMI can be found at the bottom of that column.
blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, cancer, and diseases of the
gallbladder, heart, and lungs (1-8). Such diseases can reduce
the quality of life and can also lead to death (1, 4, 9). Body
Table 2. Body Mass Index Look-up Table
Mass Index (BMI) is one of the commonly used measures of
obesity.
Height
Weight in pounds
4' 10" (58”) 91
96 100 105 110 115 119 124 129 134 138 143 148 153 158 162 167
What is Body Mass Index (BMI)?
4' 11" (59”) 94
99 104 109 114 119 124 128 133 138 143 148 153 158 163 168 173
5'
(60”) 97 102 107 112 118 123 128 133 138 143 148 153 158 163 168 174 179
BMI is a ratio of a person’s weight to height. BMI is com-
monly used to classify weight as “healthy” or “unhealthy.”
5' 1" (61”) 100 106 111 116 122 127 132 137 143 148 153 158 164 169 174 180 185
5' 2" (62”) 104 109 115 120 126 131 136 142 147 153 158 164 169 175 180 186 191
How is BMI determined?
5' 3" (63”) 107 113 118 124 130 135 141 146 152 158 163 169 175 180 186 191 197
5' 4" (64”) 110 116 122 128 134 140 145 151 157 163 169 174 180 186 192 197 204
BMI can be determined by using the following equation:
5' 5" (65”) 114 120 126 132 138 144 150 156 162 168 174 180 186 192 198 204 210
(
)
Height
5' 6" (66”) 118 124 130 136 142 148 155 161 167 173 179 186 192 198 204 210 216
Body weight
Height
÷
x
x
BMI = 705
(in inches)
(in pounds)
(in inches)
5' 7" (67”) 121 127 134 140 146 153 159 166 172 178 185 191 198 204 211 217 223
5' 8" (68”) 125 131 138 144 151 158 164 171 177 184 190 197 203 210 216 223 230
Example:
5' 9" (69”) 128 135 142 149 155 162 169 176 182 189 196 203 209 216 223 230 236
5' 10" (70”) 132 139 146 153 160 167 174 181 188 195 202 209 216 222 229 236 243
A person who is 5 feet 6 inches (66 inches) tall and weighs
5' 11" (71”) 136 143 150 157 165 172 179 186 193 200 208 215 222 229 236 243 250
155 pounds has a BMI of 25:
1 foot = 12 inches, therefore 5 feet = 5 x 12 = (60 inches) + 6
6'
(72”) 140 147 154 162 169 177 184 191 199 206 213 221 228 235 242 250 258
inches = 66 inches
6' 1" (73”) 144 151 159 166 174 182 189 197 204 212 219 227 235 242 250 257 265
6' 2" (74”) 148 155 163 171 179 186 194 202 210 218 225 233 241 249 256 264 272
BMI = 705 x 155 ÷ (66 x 66) = 25
6' 3" (75”) 152 160 168 176 184 192 200 208 216 224 232 240 248 256 264 272 279
BMI
19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35
What does BMI mean?
Source: Evidence Report of Clinical Guidelines on the Identification,
BMI values between 18.5 and 24.9 are considered “normal” or
Evaluation, and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults, 1998.
“healthy” weight (Table 1). BMI values between 25 and 29.9
NIH/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
are considered “overweight” and 30 and above are considered
“obese.” BMIs above 25 are unhealthy and have been shown
Can BMI be used by everyone?
to increase the risk of certain chronic diseases (1-8). BMIs
under 18.5 are considered “underweight.”
For most people, BMI provides a good measure of obesity.
Table 1. Body Mass Index Categories
However, BMI does not provide actual information on body
composition (i.e. the proportions of muscle, bone, fat, and other
W E I G H T
B M I
tissues that make up a person’s total body weight), and may not be
C A T E G O R Y
the most appropriate indicator to determine health status for
Less than 18.5
Underweight
certain groups of people. For example, athletes with dense bones
1 8 . 5 - 2 4 . 9
Normal weight
and well developed muscles or people with large body frames may
be obese by BMI standards (i.e. they have BMIs greater than 30),
2 5 - 2 9 . 9
Overweight
but yet have little body fat. On the other hand, inactive people
3 0 a n d a b o v e
O b e s e
may seem to have acceptable weights when, in fact, they may have
Source: National Institutes of Health (NIH), 1998
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