Interpreting BMI results

Interpreting your BMI result may seem straightforward but BMI is only one measure of your health. Here’s what you need to know:

BMI can be calculated by dividing your weight, in kilograms, by your height, in meters squared. For example, a person who weighs 120 lb and is 66 in tall has a weight of 54.44kg and a height of 1.67m. Their BMI is roughly 21.8.

BMI results and what they mean:

  • Below 18.5:This is considered underweight. You might be at risk for malnutrition or osteoporosis if you don’t up your calorie intake.
  • 18.5 to 24.9:The ideal BMI. This is considered well within the healthy weight range and what most doctors are looking for across the spectrum of adulthood.
  • 25 to 29.9:This is the overweight range. It’s not particularly unhealthy, but it increases your risk of health problems such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
  • 30 or above:That’s in the obesity range. It greatly increases your risk of health problems.

Important things to keep in mind as you interpret your BMI:

  • BMI doesn’t account for body composition. Since muscle is denser than fat, those with a lot of muscle may end up with an “unhealthy” BMI yet have low body fat. This is why BMI may not be as accurate in athletes or those who weight train significantly.
  • BMI is also age, sex, and ethnicity-dependent. For children, pregnant or breastfeeding women as well as older adults, different BMI ranges can be used.
  • BMI simply screens for health conditions, it’s not a diagnosis. If you are concerned about your weight or health, ask your doctor. Your BMI is only one factor they consider, along with your body composition, medical history and family history, to give you a unique assessment.

If you’d like some reputable resources on this subject, consider any of these:

Remember, the most important thing is to focus on your overall health and well-being. If you have any questions or concerns, talk to your doctor.