The body mass index (BMI) is an approximate measure of body fat. It is a figure, which can indicate if your weight is healthy for your height. BMI is used to screen for weight categories that could potentially lead to health problems. However, it can’t be used alone as a diagnosis of the health of an individual.
For adults, a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered a normal amount of body fat. As your weight increases, so will your BMI. If your BMI rises above 24.9, you are considered overweight. A BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese. The higher your BMI, the greater your potential risk for diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and certain cancers.
BMI Chart – Adults (Age 20+)
|18.5 – 24.9||Normal or Healthy Weight|
|25.0 – 29.9||Overweight|
|30.0 and above||Obese|
BMI is calculated differently for children and teenagers. It is age and sex specific because the height and weight of males and females change differently during growth and development. While it is calculated the same as for adults, BMI is expressed as a percentile relative to other children of the same sex and age.
If you are concerned about your or your child’s BMI, or just want more information, talk with your family doctor.
BMI Chart – Children and Teens (Ages 2 to 19)
|Weight Status||Percentile Range|
|Normal or Healthy Weight||5th to <85th percentile|
|Overweight||85th to <95th percentile|
|Obese||95th percentile or greater|
Calculate Your BMI
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The information in these tools should not be relied upon to make decisions about your health. Always consult your family doctor with questions about your individual condition(s) and/or circumstances.
Copyright © American Academy of Family Physicians
This information provides a general overview and may not apply to everyone. Talk to your family doctor to find out if this information applies to you and to get more information on this subject.