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How to Calculate Your BMI Using Your Arm Span

Updated April 17, 2017

Your body mass index, otherwise known as BMI, is calculated by your weight and height measurements. Your BMI is not a direct indication of weight, but places your body into different categories such as: underweight, normal, overweight, or obese.

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Since a persons arms span is approximately the same as their height, this measurement may be used as a fairly reliable means of measuring BMI.

  1. Stand straight up with your head facing forward, and your arms straight out, parallel to the floor. This ensures the most accurate measurement of your arm span.

  2. Measure (in inches) from left fingertip, across torso, ending at right fingertip. This is an approximate measure of your height.

  3. Use a scale to weigh yourself, preferably in the morning, without clothing. If you have the time, do a weight measurement every day for three days. Total these three measurements and divide that number by three. This is your weight in pounds.

  4. Calculate your BMI with the aid of numerous online calculators for your data, or the following formula: (weight in lbs x 703 ) / (height in inches)².

  5. Check your results, which fall into one of four categories. A BMI below 18.5 indicates your body is underweight; 18.5 to 24.9 places your weight within normal range. A BMI of 25 to 29.9 may indicate that your body is over the recommended weight for your height; and a BMI over 30 places your weight into the obese category.

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Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • BMI calculator

About the Author

Sarah Trevino

Sarah Trevino has been a freelance writer since 2005 and specializes in food and wine, television, home and garden, and weddings. She has written for numerous websites and publications, including OMG!, Procter & Gamble and various blogs. Trevino holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Central Florida and a graduate certificate in health and wellness.

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