While there are a number of difficulties when using BMI, it is very useful to determine a person's potential health risks. Those with high and low BMIs are at a higher risk than those in the normal range for a number of health problems. Knowing a patient's BMI can help a physician to provide proper preventative care and recommend appropriate treatments.
How to Calculate BMI
To find your BMI, divide your weight in kilograms by your height, in meters, squared. The formula should look something like this:
BMI= weight(kg)/height^2 (m^2)
This same formula can be used for US units with a few modification:
BMI= weight(pounds)* 703/ height ^2 (inches^2)
You can also use a standardized chart (like the one listed in the resource section) to help you to determine your BMI.
The following are the typical classifications for BMI:
Under 18.5: underweight
40 and up: morbidly obese
Problems with Using BMI
While BMI can be extremely useful, it also has a number of shortcomings. First, the above categories and calculations can only be used adults. Children are classified on a separate chart.
A second problem is that BMI only takes into account height and weight. The underlying assumption is that the person has a typical amount of muscle. For athletes and other individuals with a large amount of muscle, BMI may classify them as overweight when in fact they are not. Measuring body fat may is a much more exact way to determine if a person is overweight.
This a great scale that will not only calculate your BMI, but also give you an estimate of your body fat percentage:
Calculate your body fat percentage in a quick and handheld way:
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