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Useful Tools > Body Mass Index - BMI

What is BMI?

BMI stands for body mass index. This is a formula that relates body weight to height. This number enables people to determine whether they are at a healthy weight.

Calculating BMI

In order to calculate your BMI, you should use the following equation:


         (Weight in lbs.)

--------------------------  x 703  = BMI

                                   (Height in inches2)          

What Your BMI Calculation Means

Under 18.5* Underweight
18.5* - 25 Healthy Weight
25 - 30 Overweight
30 - 40 Obese
Over 40 Severely obese

* There are two different ranges for healthy BMI put forward by different, but respected, sources. The British Nutrition Foundation, for example, gives 20-25 as healthy range and less than 20 as underweight. The Food Standards Agency's BMI calculator gives 18.5-25 as healthy and less than 18.5 as underweight. Cancer Research UK gives both ranges in different sections of its website. It seems that we can be a bit relaxed about a BMI of between 18.5 and 20, and not start worrying about being underweight unless BMI is less than 18.5. Having said that, we would not recommend that anybody with a current BMI of less than 20 should try to lose weight.

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