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Body Mass Index

Your Body Mass Index or BMI is an overall indicator of health issues such as cardiovascular disease. Here's an easy way to check your body mass index. Give it a try and find your BMI. Just enter your weight and height and click on "Calculate BMI."
Athletes click here
Weight:  lbs.

Height:  Ft.   In.

Body Mass Index:  
According to the Panel on Energy, Obesity, and Body Weight Standards published by American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, your category is:

If your BMI is less than 20: This indicates a lean BMI, which means you have a low amount of body fat. This is desirable only if you are an athlete. If you are not an athlete, a lean BMI can indicate that your weight may be too low. This may lower your immunity. If your BMI and body weight are low, you should consider increasing your muscle mass with a good diet and exercise program.

If your BMI is between 20 and 22: This indicates the ideal, healthy amount of body fat, which is associated with living longest, and the lowest incidence of serious illness and health problems. This ratio is what many individuals perceive to be the most attractive. Go for it.

If your BMI is between 22 and 25:This is still considered an acceptable range, and is associated with good health. Consider adding an "active" activity to your week.

If your BMI is between 25 and 30: You are considered "Hefty" and should find ways to lower your weight, through diet and exercise. You are at increased risk for a variety of illnesses at your present weight. You should lose weight by changing your diet and exercising more.

If your BMI is over 30: This indicates an unhealthy condition. Your excess "Prosperity" is putting you at risk for a verity of health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, gall bladder disease and some cancers. You will likely need a lifestyle change to get this under control. Get some help. Your first steps should be changing your diet and exercising more.


If you are under age 20 there is a chart for girls and a chart for boys that lists the ideal desirable weights according to the American Child Health Association. Both charts are formatted so that you can print them out.

Muscular and Athletic People:

The most common formula for lean body mass is
Lean Body Weight (men) = (1.10 x Weight(kg)) - 128 x ( Weight2/(100 x Height(m))2)
Lean Body Weight (women) = (1.07 x Weight(kg)) - 148 x ( Weight2/(100 x Height(m))2)

Some very muscular people can have high Body Mass Indexes, which suggest obesity when they are not. We have designed our own version of the lean body mass for calculating lean BMI. Let us know what you think of it.

People of some nations are taller than others. The Icelanders, for example, tend to be tall and Asians tend to be shorter. Some races, ethnic groups and nationalities have different body fat distribution and body composition. Also, because of improving nutrition, the people of many nations are growing taller over time. Therefore, the calculators have to be set for the population in question and adjusted from time to time. This calculator was set in 2003 for those living in the United States.

Related Links: Calories Per Day Calculator

BMI Feedback

Subj: BMI calculation for children
Date: 12/4/2003
Does this calculation change for children? If so could you please add these to your site or direct me elsewhere. I am a physical educator looking for information regarding children ages 8 to 11. Thanks

AskDocWeb: The code to calculate Body Mass Index we use here is for adults only. It was written by Marat Rikelman. The last email address we had for him was You may find more information at, which is where we found the Java code to calculate BMI.

Subj: Obese?
Date: 4/1/2004
Hi, I've just emailed you about "Didrex" I've also just done your body mass thing. I'm 198lbs and I'm 5ft 6in. It says I'm obese...I`m absolutely devastated. I can't believe that I'm obese. I always thought obese was huge...I'm breaking my heart as I'm writing this :(

AskDocWeb: You can blame the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition or you can accept that your health is in danger and you need to do something to protect yourself. Please talk to your doctor about this.

Subj: Bodybuilding
Date: 5/23/2004
This BMI calculator is ridiculous. I've had my fat body percentage calculated with more advanced techniques and my lean muscle mass, with NO fat is 20 POUNDS MORE than what the calculator says I should weigh at my height. I would have to lose 20 lbs of muscle and all my fat to meet its criteria. It seems this calculator does not really apply to anyone who does strength training or bodybuilding.

AskDocWeb: This BMI calculator is for average people. Most people are not into bodybuilding. It also does not work for people who weigh more than 500 lbs and does not work if you are a child or are less than 48 inches tall. But hey, it is free.

Subj: Clothes on or off?
Date: 8/28/2004
I appreciate the free service and advice. It seems that no site when calculating BMI and weight though asks you if your weight is with clothes on or naked. For me that is usually a 6 lb difference and can make the difference between ideal and overweight.

AskDocWeb: So you seem to be either on the high side of ideal or borderline overweight although BMI as not the only indicator of your health, fitness or ideal weight. Have you considered what activities you might add that would be fun and increase your exercise at the same time? After all, not all exercise takes place in a gym - bowling or dancing for example.

Subj: Growth of height
Date: 12/29/2004
Hello, I just wanted to know, Can the Sprain of ankles without proper treatment affect the further growth of height in a person.

AskDocWeb: No, a sprained ankle will not effect the growth pattern, only fractured bones in the growth plate will.

Subj: This is absurd
Date: 2/25/2005
I feel that this is absurd! Women who have large chests and behinds are obviously heavier then women who don't. So does that mean that women with large features have to get a breast reduction and glutes suction to be at their healthy weight? No 2 people have the same bone structure either and that can affect your weight by a great deal so a BMI can never determine if a person is at their right weight. For a real ideal weight for YOUR body structure its much better to go to the doctor because this BMI can damage a persons health saying that they are unhealthy when really they might be.

AskDocWeb: Thanks for your input. The BMI number must be adjusted to allow for the athletic condition of each person. All doctors go by the BMI during a physical exam and state the result in your file. The BMI number is only a general indicator of your health. Some diet drugs such as Xenical or Phentermine are commonly limited to those who have a BMI of 30 or greater.

Subj: Origin of BMI formula
Date: 3/28/2005
I have found the same formulae for calculating lean body mass on several sites. I'm wondering if you know its origin to reference it. With thanks,

AskDocWeb: This formula was decided on by a Panel on Energy, Obesity, and Body Weight Standards and was published by American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Subj: Tennis player
Date: 4/23/2005
Hi, I am a tennis player and I have a lot of muscle. I am 140 lbs and 5 feet 4. I am Desirable in this category. Is it accurate for me who has a lot of muscle?

AskDocWeb Yes, it is. You are athletic and sound healthy, keep up the tennis!

Subj: Boost weight loss
Date: 4/26/2005
Hi, my name is Kristy, I used the body mass index. I weight 229 pounds and I'm 5'9 in height. I'm obese, is there any thing I can buy to boost up my weight loss? What should I do? Please give me some advice.

AskDocWeb: Our advice is to learn what you can about good nutrition and healthy exercise, and then apply what you learn. Stop eating and drinking "diet" products, especially those that contain Aspartame (also called NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, Benevia, and NatraTaste). In our opinion these diet products actually do more harm than good. Discuss a good weight loss plan with your physician.

If you live in the city then you may not know that farmers use grain to fatten up their cattle for market. It is common knowledge among livestock producers that products made from grain produce weight gain. If you want to avoid weight gain, stop eating bread and pasta products.

Subj: Almost 14
Date: 5/2/2005
If I'm 13 nearly 14 and my BMI is 11, it says I'm underweight but I'm wondering seen as I'm so young whether its the right answer for me.

AskDocWeb: You are right to question the accuracy of this calculator. It only works for average adults.

Subj: What to use
Date: 5/3/2005
I just want to know what we can use to weight our body mass?

AskDocWeb: You don't weigh your body mass, it has to be calculated from your weight and height.

Read more Feedback here.

Most recent post: May 26, 2016

Related links:

Body Mass Index for those with an athletic build.

Calorie Calculator to find the number of calories you burn each day.

Calculate your Ideal Weight for Adults.

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This consumer advocate website is protected by copyright 2010-2016 Askdocweb, Inc. All Rights Reserved. This is a layman's report on BMI and is not intended to replace discussions with a health care provider. Do not use the information on this forum as a substitute for your doctor's advice. Always consult your doctor before taking any drug and follow your doctor's directions. Source material: Food and Drug Administration, Medline, Physician's Desk Reference, and the largest community of people in the world, those who are concerned about side effects and healthcare.
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