Body Mass Index (BMI): What It’s For and How It’s Calculated

According to the American Society of Bariatric Physicians (ASBP), BMI—a measurement of height and weight—is the gold standard for measuring obesity.

The BMI is calculated by:

  • multiplying body weight in pounds by 700
  • dividing the result by height in inches
  • dividing that result by height in inches once more

Denise Bruner, MD, president of the ASBP, says a BMI of 18.5 to 25 is considered a healthy weight. However, a BMI of 25 to 30 is considered overweight.

“A BMI of 30 or higher indicates obesity,” says Bruner.

So, if a man is 5’10” tall and weighs 188 pounds, he would have a BMI of 27, placing him in the “at-risk” category. If the same man, however, lost 14 pounds and weighed 174 pounds, he would have a BMI of 25.

Additional information can be found on ASBP’s Web site at

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