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What is a healthy body mass index (BMI)?

A body mass index (BMI) between 18 and 24 is considered healthy. BMI is not perfect -- for example, a pro athlete with very high muscle mass may have a high BMI without being overweight -- but for the general population, it is a good guideline.
Marjorie Nolan Cohn
Nutrition & Dietetics

BMI stands for body mass index and is a measure of height to weight. It doesn’t take into consideration age or gender. Therefore is not the most reliable measure for obesity. It is however, and good rule of thumb tool when trying to determine your health risks associated with weight.

BMI Categories:

  • Underweight = <18.5
  • Normal weight = 18.5–24.9
  • Overweight = 25–29.9
  • Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater

To calculate your BMI measure your weight in pounds and height in inches. Then multiply the answer by 703

  • [Weight / (height x height)] x 703 = BMI
Anthony L. Komaroff, MD
Internal Medicine
Body mass index (BMI), which takes both height and weight into consideration, provides a way to estimate body fat. You can calculate your BMI like this: divide your weight in pounds by your height in inches. Divide the answer by your height in inches. Multiply that answer by 703. Or use the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's easy online calculator.[http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/]

Aim for a BMI of 19 to 24, the range that's considered normal and poses minimal risk for heart disease and other health problems. A BMI of 25 to 29 is considered overweight (moderate risk), and a value of 30 or over is defined as obese (high risk).
Merle Myerson, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

Cardiovascular specialist Dr. Merle Myerson explains what a healthy body mass index (BMI) reading should be. Watch Dr. Myerson's video for important tips and information about heart health.


BMI values are classified as follows:
o < 18.5 = underweight
o 18.5 - 24.9 = normal
o 25 - 30 = overweight
o 30 - 35 = moderate obesity
o >35 = severe obesity

http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/obesity/bmi_tbl.pdf

You can use the following BMI calculator to determine your BMI

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/bmi-calculator/NU00597
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

Your Body Mass Index (BMI) can determine if you are at a healthy weight for your height. Watch this video to find out what BMI range is healthy and what range determines obesity.

Eric Beard
Sports Medicine

A healthy Body Mass Index (BMI) reading is 18.5--24.9. The official scores are as follows;

Below 18.5 = Underweight

18.5 – 24.9 = Normal

25.0 – 29.9 = Overweight

30.0 and Above = Obese

These sample scores courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and correlate height, weight and BMI. The following example is for an individual who is 5' 9".

124 lbs or less with a BMI of 18.5 or below = Underweight

125 lbs to 168 lbs with a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 = Normal

169 lbs to 202 lbs with a BMI of 25.0 to 29.9 = Overweight

203 lbs or more with a BMI of 30 or higher = Obese

A healthy Body Mass Index reading is a BMI of between 18.5 to 24.9.

BMI <18.5 is considered underweight.
BMI 25.0 to 29.9 = overweight.
BMI > 30.0 = obese.
BMI > 35.0 = morbidly.
BMI values are classified as follows:
o < 18.5 = underweight
o 18.5 - 24.9 = normal
o 25 - 30 = overweight
o 30 - 35 = moderate obesity
o >35 = severe obesity

Continue Learning about Body Mass Index (BMI)

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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.