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Body Mass Index

Body Mass Index Table (PDF)

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For adults, overweight and obesity ranges are determined by using height and weight to calculate a number called the "Body Mass Index" or BMI. BMI is used because, for most people, it correlates with their amount of body fat.

An adult who has a BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight.
An adult who has a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese.
Overweight and obesity are ranges of weight that are greater than what is generally considered healthy for a given height. The terms also identify ranges of weight that have been shown to increase the likelihood of certain diseases and other health problems.

It is important to remember that although BMI correlates with the amount of body fat, BMI does not directly measure body fat. As a result, some people, such as athletes, may have a BMI that identifies them as overweight even though they do not have excess body fat. The Body Mass Index is a tool used by healthcare professionals to assess for overweight and obesity and risk for disease.

Health care professionals are concerned not only with how much fat you have but also where the fat is located on your body. Excess abdominal fat is an important independent risk factor for chronic disease. Research shows that waist circumference is directly associated with abdominal fat and can be used in the assessment of risks associated with obesity or overweight. If you carry fat mainly around your waist, you are at an increased risk to develop diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke.

Women with a measurement of more than 35 inches and men with a waist circumference of more than 40 inches may have more health risks than people with lower waist measurements because of body fat distribution around the waist.
BMI and waist circumference are used together to identify individuals who are at increased risk of chronic disease.