How to Find Out Your BMI

Written by kristin mleko
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Body Mass Index, or BMI, is a measurement of weight and height used to categorize possible health issues in both adult males and females. The index is a widely accepted tool in estimating an individual's body fat, and includes categories ranging from Severely Underweight to Obese Class III, the most extreme and dangerous weight levels. Calculating one's own BMI is simple, and a vital first step in maintaining the overall health of the entire body.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Scale
  • Measuring Tape
  • Calculator

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  1. 1

    Weigh yourself nude and record your weight in pounds.

  2. 2

    Stand to a wall, shoeless, and mark of your height.

  3. 3

    Measure the distance from the floor to the marked position to determine your current height, in inches.

  4. 4

    Using the standard BMI formula: weight (pounds) / [height (inches)]^2 x 703, determine your own BMI.

    For example, if your height is 62 inches and you weigh 140 pounds, you would determine: [140/(62)^2] x 703 [140/(62)^2] x 703=25.6

  5. 5

    Locate your BMI within one of the ranges of seven categories. The standard ranges for each category are:

    Severely Underweight: >16.5 Underweight: 16.5 to 18.4 Normal Weight: 18.5 to 24.9
    Overweight: 25 to 30 Obese Class I: 30.1 to 34.9 Obese Class II: 35 to 40 Obese Class III: <40

Tips and warnings

  • Because weight fluctuates anywhere from 3 to 5 pounds during the course of a given day, step on the scale in the early morning, before breakfast.
  • A Normal Weight BMI range is ideal.
  • BMI does not take into account weight of muscles. A very muscular person (such as a body builder) may have a BMI in the Overweight to Obese ranges but her weight is not from fat.
  • A person with Severely Underweight or Underweight BMI may suffer malnutrition, bone loss and a range of other health issues. An Overweight or Obese classification can lead to diabetes, heart attack and other dangers.
  • The above formula differs from that used to determine the BMI of children and teens.

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