Body Mass Index

Body Mass Index (BMI) is widely used in health science as an estimate of under and overweight.  It is calculated as  : weight (kg) / (height (m) squared).

For adult Caucasian populations leading a ‘typical’ lifestyle, a BMI between 18.5 and 25 is considered to have less health risks for adults.

Nevertheless, as many as 25% of people may be misclassified by BMI, therefore it should not be used for :

  • body builders
  • frail, sedentary, or elderly people
  • pregnant or lactating women
  • people under 18 years of age

More recently, scientists are relying more-so on waist circumference alone or in combination with BMI, to assess health risk.

It should also be noted BMI related health risk varies between Caucasians, Asians, and Pacific Islanders. The World Health Organization continue to review race based guidelines. The tables below are the current WHO “International Classifications”.


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