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What is the formula to calculate body mass index?

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Quick Answer

The formula to calculate body mass index is weight (kg) / height (meters) squared. Usually abbreviated to BMI, body mass index is a measure of the body fat of adult men and women based on their height and weight. Another formula is mass (pounds) / height (inches) squared x 703.

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A person’s BMI may also be obtained by looking at a standardized chart. The chart has height (meters) on the y-axis and weight (kilograms) on the x-axis. Numerous health institutions and agencies use the index to measure the obesity of a population. People who are below 18.5 BMI are deemed underweight while those with 18.5 - 24.9 are normal. On the other hand, people with 25.0 - 29.9 BMI are considered overweight while 30.0 and above are obese.

BMI is only one factor used to determine a person’s susceptibility to disease. Other factors that health institutes use are a person’s waist circumference, high blood pressure and physical inactivity. Similarly, the correlation between BMI and body fatness could depend on factors such as a person’s age, sex and race. Modern technology has also contributed to the process of obtaining BMI. Today, there are numerous websites where a person can enter the values of his or her weight and height and the computer calculates the BMI.

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