June 27, 2008, Newsletter Issue #109: BMI: Body Mass Index

Tip of the Week

Today, many people are talking about BMI. What is it? BMI stands for Body Mass Index. It is a number that is calculated from a woman's weight and height. Although it does not directly measure body fat, a BMI reading has been shown to correlate with body fat measuring methods such as underwater weighing. According to the Center for Disease Control, the following method is used to calculate BMI:

Formula: weight (lb) / [height (in)]2 x 703

Calculate BMI by dividing weight in pounds (lbs) by height in inches (in) squared and multiplying by a conversion factor of 703.

Example: Weight = 150 lbs, Height = 5’5” (65")

Calculation: [150 ÷ (65)2] x 703 = 24.96

A BMI of below 18.5 is considered underweight. From 18.5 to 24.9, the BMI is considered normal. If your BMI is 25 to 25.9, you are considered overweight. Obesity begins at a BMI of 30.

Although BMI can be a useful method for calculating body fat, there are some caveats. A highly muscular woman will obviously weigh more. However, this does not mean she has more body fat.

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