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

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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 www.asbp.org.

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