BMI: Body Mass Index/ Healthy Weight

A focus on Body Mass Index; Knowing your numbers means knowing your risk

Overweight and obese refer to ranges of weight that are considered unhealthy for a given height. Being overweight can lead to obesity, and obesity is defined as having too much body fat. Excess fat, especially around your waist, may put a strain on your heart and can lead to serious health problems such as: Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, varicose veins, and other chronic conditions.

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a number calculated using your weight and height.

Knowing your BMI is one simple way to determine if your weight is putting you at risk for health problems.

How to calculate your BMI

Your BMI estimates how much you should weigh based on your height.

Here’s how to calculate it:

  • Multiply your weight in pounds by 703.
  • Divide that answer by your height in inches.
  • Divide that answer by your height in inches again.

How to calculate your waist circumference

  • You can easily measure your own your waist circumference to determine if you are storing too much body fat in your abdomen:
  • Place a cloth measuring tape around your bare abdomen just above your hip bones (do not use your belly button as a guide).
  • Make sure the tape is horizontal all the way around, and snug (but not pulling your skin in).
  • Breathe normally, and read the measurement.

BMI Category for Adults

  • Underweight – Below 18.5
  • Healthy – 18.5 to 24.9
  • Overweight – 25.0 to 29.9
  • Obese – Over 30

Women with a waist measurement of more than 35 inches or men with a waist measurement of more than 40 inches may have a higher risk for developing diabetes or heart disease.

Lowering your BMI or waist circumference by just a small amount may lower your risk significantly. You can decrease these numbers by exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet.

For more information about BMI or waist circumference, contact your health care provider or visit the US Heart Lung and Blood Institute at

Visit IBISA (Instituto Biba Saludabel y Activo) at

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