Research has shown that BMI correlates to direct measures of body fat, it is a fairly reliable indicator of body fat based on height and weight. For adults 20 years old and older, BMI is interpreted using standard weight status categories that are the same for all ages and for both men and women. At the same BMI, women tend to have more body fat than men, older people, on average, tend to have more body fat than younger adults. Highly trained athletes may have a high BMI because of increased muscularity rather than increased body fatness. BMI is not a diagnostic tool. However, is often used to screen for weight categories that may lead to health problems. It is important to remember that BMI is only one factor related to risk for disease. For assessing someone’s likelihood of developing overweight- or obesity-related diseases, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute guidelines recommend looking at two other predictors:
- The individual’s waist circumference (because abdominal fat is a predictor of risk for obesity-related diseases).
- Other risk factors the individual has for diseases and conditions associated with obesity (for example, high blood pressure or physical inactivity).
Now, let’s figure out your Body Mass Index (BMI). Calculating your BMI is one of the best methods for assessment of overweight and obesity. Use the BMI calculators provided to determine your specific BMI. Once you know your BMI, you can compare that number with the following general categories for an idea of your health risks: