Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to adult men and women.


BMI, formerly called the Quetelet index, is a measure for indicating nutritional status in adults. It is defined as a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of the person’s height in metres (kg/m2).

– World Health Organization (WHO)

Simply put, BMI is nothing but a number used to indicate if one has the “correct weight for the given height”.


What is your BMI?

Your BMI is a measurement of your body weight based on your height and weight. Although your BMI does not actually “measure” your percentage of body fat, it is a useful tool to estimate a healthy body weight based on your height. Due to its ease of measurement and calculation, it is the most widely used diagnostic indicator to identify a person’s optimal weight depending on his height. Your BMI “number” will inform you if you are underweight, of normal weight, overweight, or obese. However, due to the wide variety of body types, the distribution of muscle and bone mass, etc., it is not appropriate to use this as the only or final indication for diagnosis.

The formulas to calculate BMI based on two of the most commonly used unit systems:

BMI = weight(kg) / height(m) (Metric Units)
BMI = 703·weight(lb) / height(in) (U.S. Units)

BMI table for adults

This is the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommended body weight based on BMI values for adults. It is used for both men and women, age 18 or older. The Body mass chart for adults and the body mass chart for children is different. This is because body mass index is accounted differently based on age and growth spurts. Here is the Body Mass Index Chart for women and for men that are 18 and older: