Body Mass Index or BMI is the measurement of your weight in relation to your height.
Your BMI is a very easy number to figure out either from a chart or calculating it manually. More and more, the medical community uses a person’s BMI combined with abdominal circumference (waist size) to determine risk for serious illnesses.
What does your BMI tell you about your health?
A high BMI # can be an indicator for type 2 diabetes, hypertension, stroke and heart disease.
How to Measure Your BMI
Step on scale and remember to remove your shoes. Determine your weight in pounds or kilograms.
Measure your height in inches or meters. Again remember to remove your shoes.
Take your height and weight and place them in one of the formula’s below. If you don’t feel like doing a manual calculation use the BMI calculator link to make things even easier.
- Underweight Below 18.5
- Normal 18.5 to 24.9
- Overweight 25.0 to 29.9
- Obese 30.0 and above
The Body Mass Index is only accurate for healthy adults aged 18 to 65. It is not appropriate for infants, children, adolescents, pregnant or breastfeeding women or adults over age 65. It may also not be a good indicator of health risk for very muscular athletes or body builders.
In addition to BMI it is also important to measure your abdominal circumference (waist). This is not your pant size. You measure your waist by placing the tape measure around the widest portion of your abdomen.
*Please see directions below on how to measure properly
How to Measure Your Abdominal Circumference
Clear your abdominal area of any clothing, belts or accessories. Stand upright facing a mirror with your feet shoulder-width apart and your stomach relaxed. Wrap the measuring tape around your waist.
Use the borders of your hands and index fingers – not your fingertips – to find the uppermost edge of your hipbones by pressing upwards and inwards along your hipbones.
Tip: Many people mistake an easily felt part of the hipbone located toward the front of their body as the top of their hips. This part of the bone is in fact not the top of the hip bones, but by following this spot upward and back toward the sides of your body, you should be able to locate the true top of your hipbones.
Using the mirror, align the bottom edge of the measuring tape with the top of the hipbones on both sides of your body.
Tip: Once located, it may help to mark the top of your hipbones with a pen or felt-tip marker in order to aid you in correctly placing the tape.
Tip: Make sure the tape is parallel to the floor and is not twisted.
Relax and take two normal breaths. After the second breath out, tighten the tape around your waist. The tape should fit comfortably snug around the waist without depressing the skin.
Tip: Remember to keep your stomach relaxed at this point.
Still breathing normally, take the reading on the tape.
Men have an increased risk of obesity related conditions when their waist size exceeds 40 inches or 102 cm. For women it is 35 inches or 88 cm.
- 69-94cm = Super
- 94-102cm = Attention
- 102cm and above = Risk
- 60-80cm = Super
- 80-88cm = Attention
- 88cm and above = Risk
Check your BMI and abdominal circumference yearly.
Blood Pressure U.K.
John Hopkins University
Canadian Diabetes Association
Heart & Stoke Foundation