Why is it important to know my body mass index?


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.

Dr. Mike Clark, DPT
Dr. Mike Clark, DPT on behalf of Sharecare Fitness
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:

Continue Learning about Body Mass Index (BMI)

What is a healthy body mass index (BMI)?
Your body mass index (BMI) can determine if you are at a healthy weight for your height. Learn more ...
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How much lean body mass should I have?
Lean body mass should make up at least 70% of body weight in women, and 75% in men.
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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.