If you are looking for information on how to watch your weight and determine whether or not you are in a healthy weight range, the body mass index (BMI) is a great tool to help you. A simple mathematical equation, the body mass index can help you determine if you are in a healthy weight range for your height.

The BMI does not measure percentage of body fat, but rather indicates if are considered underweight, within a healthy range, overweight, or obese. It is not meant as a diagnostic tool, but can be helpful to get you on track to losing weight if you are categorized as overweight or obese.

How it Works

The BMI uses a formula that includes your weight and height. To calculate your BMI, input your numbers in the following equation:

BMI = weight (pounds) x 703

Height2 (inches2)

What Does the Result Mean?

There are four basic classifications for BMI results. The first one relates to anyone under 18.5. This group is considered underweight. A healthy range is anywhere between 18.5 and 25. Higher than 25 puts you in the overweight category, while higher than 30 puts you in the obese category.

Not everyone that is classified as overweight by this measurement necessarily is. The BMI scale does not account for any variation in sex, ethnicity, or age, and therefore in some cases, the results can rate someone as overweight or underweight when they are actually within a healthy weight range.

If you are concerned about your BMI results, contact you doctor and they can help you determine if you are a healthy weight for your height based on some additional factors such as your physical activity level and waist circumference.

How Are These Results Used?

BMI formula results are used for a number of applications. First, they can help determine if you are potentially at risk for certain diseases that are more common among people that are overweight. Knowing that you are at higher risk for coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure due to your BMI may be the beginning motivation that many people need to pursue a change in lifestyle and diet for weight loss.

The BMI scale was developed initially as a way to collect statistical information about the obesity of the population. It is also commonly used in the United States as a way for health insurance providers to determine premiums for coverage, as higher healthcare costs have been associated with overweight patients.

If you are looking to manage your weight the healthy way, the BMI formula is a great starting point to get you on track and help you understand what a healthy weight range is for your height.

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