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# What is the formula to calculate body mass index?

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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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• A:

Adolphe Quetelet invented the body mass index, or BMI, chart in the early 1900s. The purpose of the chart is to give a measurement of a person's weight based on their height and gender, determining whether the individual is underweight, healthy, overweight or obese.

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A healthy percentage of BMI ranges from 18.5 - 24.9; body mass index is calculated based on height and weight and is the same for both men and women. Anything below the range is underweight, and above is either overweight or obese.

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The CDC states that body mass index (BMI) is a helpful tool in screening for obesity. After obtaining both height and weight measurements, the calculations are straightforward and can be completed in minutes.