Tools & Calculators
A frequently used calculation to assess a person's body mass and associated risks) is called the body mass index, or BMI. This objective assessment compares your body weight to your height to come up with a value that indicates whether you have underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obesity. As BMI increases, so do health risks for several preventable causes of premature death including stroke, heart disease, certain types of cancer, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
The table above can be used to determine your body mass classification to create awareness about the health risks of having overweight or obesity and to set long-term weight-loss goals.
For most people, BMI is a quick and easy way to assess body mass, which is why it is so commonly used. However, since body weight includes bone, lean tissue (primarily muscle), and fat it is important to know that BMI does not assess actual body composition or a person's percentage of body fat. BMI only shows the relation between height and weight. As a result, BMI can incorrectly categorize some individuals. For example, individuals who are extremely muscular or have large frames may have a high BMI score resulting in a label of "overweight" or even "obese", while older adults with decreased lean tissue, lower bone density, and excess body fat may score "normal". In other words, even though calculating BMI is quick and easy to perform, the results can be misinterpreted.
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