Why is it important to know my body mass index?

Dr. Mike Clark, DPT
BMI is a measure of your general health and is based on your height and weight ratio. If your BMI is high, you may have an increased risk of developing certain diseases including:
  • high blood pressure
  • heart disease
  • high cholesterol and blood lipids (LDL)
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • sleep apnea
  • osteoarthritis
  • female infertility
  • gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)
  • urinary stress incontinence

The following is a chart of BMI ranges:

The following is a BMI calculator:
Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
Your Body Mass Index is an important number to use when assessing how much fat you have and how much fat you have to lose. Watch this video to learn the importance of knowing your BMI.

Howard Sichel
Physical Therapy
The focus on BMI is important but can turn into a negative setting tone in a person's overall quest for god health. There are many factors that will affect a person's BMI but overall it is thier age and their overall weight . It's interseting to note that most people can honestly look in the mirror and determine whether or not they have to lose weight or if they are at a healthy weight. Be honest with yourself and do a personal body assessment to determine what your next steo has to be. If you have pounds to lose then your BMI isn't where it should be. If that is the case then get into a consistent movement/exercise program to get you on the right track.
Wendy Batts
Your BMI is often used by the medical community and health agencies to assess one’s risk for weight related diseases. BMI can give you an idea of your individual risk by placing you in a particular weight category. It is not the only risk indication tool out there but it is easy to perform and can be a great start in assessing risk. The BMI weight categories are based on the relationship between body weight and disease.

It is difficult to improve what we cannot measure; and BMI an additional number that we can use to measure our progress.
Body mass index (BMI) is the recommended method for diagnosing overweight and obesity. It evaluates the relationship between body weight and height. While BMI is not a direct measure of excess body fat, it expresses the weight-height relationship and provides a more accurate measure than body weight alone.

There are many studies that show a link between BMI and the risk of several diseases as well as premature death. As BMI increases, so does the risk for:
  • diabetes
  • cardiovascular disease
  • stroke
  • hypertension
  • gallbladder disease
  • osteoarthritis
  • sleep apnea
  • some cancers
The Weight Watchers Healthy Weight Ranges are based on BMI. Weight Watchers can help you reach a healthy range.

Weight Watchers offers a comprehensive approach to weight loss that can help you reach your goals.

BMI is used for risk assessment for the general population. Generally speaking, as a person's BMI increases, so does his or her risk of certain diseases. However, BMI does not distinguish between body fat and lean body mass and does not take into account location of body fat. For this reason, it's not an accurate measure of health for certain populations, such as people with higher than average muscle mass or people whose body composition may be skewed for other reasons.

Note: BMI is not an appropriate measure for athletes, children, pregnant women, or the elderly.

Continue Learning about Body Mass Index (BMI)

How Employers Can Encourage Better Health Habits
How Employers Can Encourage Better Health Habits
Recently the body mass index (BMI) has come under more criticism. One study looking at folks in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey f...
Read More
How can I increase a low body mass index?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
You are officially underweight if you have a body mass index (BMI) below 18.5. There are several...
More Answers
Is there an alternative to measuring body mass index?
National Academy of Sports MedicineNational Academy of Sports Medicine
Although there are no other methods to measure BMI, there are alternate methods for assessing ob...
More Answers
Are Some Types of Body Fat Good for You?
Are Some Types of Body Fat Good for You?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.