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Day 26: Calculate Your BMI

Part of “knowing your health numbers” should include keeping an eye on your BMI, but what is it, and what does it measure? Let’s check it out.

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to adult men and women. It is calculated by taking your weight (in pounds) and dividing by your height in inches squared, and multiplying that number by 703. Or, you can use a BMI calculator available online or in a mobile app that you can download, which allows you to enter your height and weight for an instant result.

The formula for calculating BMI is:

BMI = weight (lb) / [height (inches)]² x 703
Example: Weight = 150 lbs, Height = 5’ 5” (65”) would be calculated as
[150 / (65)²] x 703 = 24.96


What’s the Range of BMI numbers?

According to the CDC, the standard weight status categories for adult BMI ranges are:

  • Below 18.5 Underweight
  • 18.5 – 24.9 Normal or Healthy Weight
  • 25.0 – 29.9 Overweight
  • 30 and Above Obese

Is BMI a Good Indicator of Body Fatness?

The CDC says that, while BMI can indicate a strong correlation to level of body fat, there are some important points to keep in mind:

  • At the same BMI, women tend to have more body fat than men
  • At the same BMI, older people tend to have more body fat than younger adults
  • At the same BMI, athletes have less body fat than non-athletes
  • A high body BMI can indicate high percentage of body fat or high lean body mass (muscle and bone)

What Other Indicators Should Be Considered?

Studies in the last few years have also shown that the greater the speed a person can walk, their handgrip strength and the the number of push-ups they’re able to do may also be associated with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease.

If your BMI falls outside of the normal range, talk to your doctor about steps you can take to get closer to your desired goal and maintain a healthy weight.


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