What is It and How to Calculate BMI?- HealthifyMe

The body mass index (BMI) is a way of understanding whether an individual’s weight is in a healthy proportion to their height. A BMI reading can estimate any weight-related health risks one might face.

For most adults, a BMI value in the low range signals that they are underweight or malnourished. At the same time, a high BMI alerts your risks of heart disease, diabetes, and certain chronic conditions related to being obese or overweight. Nevertheless, BMI is not an utterly reliable assessment for every body type. 

With more innovations and research in the healthcare domain, experts believe that although BMI is one of the fundamental ways to assess healthy body weight, it has its limitations. Hence, This article will help you learn more about BMI, BMI chart, and more.

BMI – An Overview

A doctor usually measures a patient’s weight and height to calculate their body mass index or BMI. It is a statistical index that uses weight and height to estimate body fat in adult males and females of any age. In other words, BMI tells whether or not a person is at a healthy weight for their height. 

The taller a person is, the more they are expected to weigh. Everyone’s score will fall somewhere on the BMI scale, which classifies the measurement as underweight, healthy, overweight, or a level of obesity. 

A healthy BMI should fall between 18.5 and 24.9. If a person’s BMI is lower than 18.5, they are considered underweight. If a person’s BMI is 30 or higher, they are considered obese.

BMI is a helpful metric to give doctors and healthcare professionals a general idea of a patient’s health, but it is not the be-all-end-all of health metrics. There are other essential factors to consider when developing a care plan for a patient. 

HealthifyMe creates a medium that can provide more detailed information about a patient’s BMI and other important health metrics. For example, one can use the BMI calculator to assess their BMI readings. 

Calculate Your Body Mass Index (BMI)

How Can I Initiate my Fitness Journey with HealthifyMe?

Once you install the HealthifyMe app and select a plan, you can choose your health and fitness coach, who helps bring your BMI to a normal range.

There is a range of premium options to help millions of consumers achieve their goals. If you are unsure about the plan that suits you the best, you can talk to a senior coach to figure out the best HealthifyMe premium plan based on your body type, BMI, lifestyle, weight gain history, and medical conditions (if any).

There’s no one-size-fits-all. The idea here is to provide customised guidance based on your specific needs and requirements. Remember that what works for a person with a high BMI may not work for someone with a low BMI. 

The principal purpose of the HealthifyMe app is to improve body and health metrics through personalised solutions, thus equipping you to maintain a healthy BMI.

BMI – The 3 Ratios to Measure Your Health & Fitness levels

How to Calculate BMI?

Searching for a free BMI calculator online is the easiest way to calculate your BMI. Once you find one, all you need to do is enter your weight and height.

You can manually calculate BMI by dividing your weight (in kilograms) by the square of your height (in metres) or BMI = Kg/M^2. Since height is commonly measured in centimetres, there is an alternate BMI calculation formula of dividing the weight (in kg) by the height in centimetres squared and then multiplying the result by 10,000. 

For example, if a person weighs 64 kg and is 1.9 metres tall, their BMI is:
  • BMI = 64 ÷ (1.9 x 1.9)
  • BMI = 64 ÷ 3.61
  • BMI = 17.7
If the height is in centimetres:
  • BMI = 64 ÷ (190 x 190)
  • BMI = 64 ÷ 36100
  • BMI = 0.00177 x 10,000
  • BMI= 17.7

In US units, the weight is in pounds, and the height is in inches. So, divide the weight by the total inches squared and then multiply the result by 703. Or BMI = (W ÷ H^2) x 703

Suppose a person weighs 184 pounds and is 5 feet, 10 inches tall. Find the total inches by multiplying 5 by 12 and add 10 to the resulting figure. 

  • 5 feet, 10 inches = 5×12 + 10 = 70 inches
  • BMI = (184 ÷ 702) x 703
  • BMI = (184 ÷ 4900) x 703
  • BMI = 0.3755 x 703
  • BMI = 26.4

Usual BMI estimates apply only to adults. However, these indicators might not give you the correct results if you’re pregnant or lactating. But, having a high BMI before pregnancy or during early pregnancy can affect your pregnancy. 

Furthermore, the BMI calculation for children and adolescents is also not evaluated using these thresholds but gets considered relative to others of the same age and gender.

BMI Chart for Men and Women

A BMI chart helps determine your BMI weight category, in which you will find your height (in cm or inches) on the left column and then move across the row to find your weight. Then, move up the chart table to locate your BMI score and weight category. Or meet the two points (your height and weight) in the graph to find your BMI. 

There are two BMI charts. One is when a person’s weight is 250 lb (113 kg) or under. If your weight is over 250 lb, look at the second chart. The chart differentiation is to depict moderate weight, overweight, or obesity corresponding to your weight. 

As per the data, the standard weight status categories as per BMI are as follows:

BMI Chart – The Ideal BMI Range for Men and Women

BMI Weight standard
BMI less than 16.5 Severely underweight
Below 18.5 Underweight
18.5 to 24.9 Healthy weight
25.0 to 29.9 Overweight
30.0 and above Obesity
30 to 34.9 Obesity class I
35 to 39.9  Obesity class II
BMI greater than or equal to 40 Obesity class III (also known as severe, extreme, or massive obesity)

Research suggests that people with higher BMIs (BMI ≥30) are more prone to health-related complications, including diabetes. 

Another study also shows that BMIs over 25 lead to heart disease and high blood pressure. Further, being severely underweight (BMI ≥16.5) is also a risk for premature death, sometimes even more so than being overweight. 

The CDC recommends a BMI-for-age calculation in children and adolescents between the age of 2 and 20. It is because children’s body fat differs with age, and boys and girls show different growth rates. 

The BMI calculation is the same for girls and boys, but there are separate BMI growth charts for girls and boys. 

The BMI percentile scale for children is as follows:

BMI (children) Weight standard
Below the 5th percentile Underweight
5th to 85th percentiles Healthy weight
85th to 95th percentiles Overweight
Greater than the 95th percentile Obese

If you are of Asian origin, the BMI classification varies from the standard female and male BMI chart. Asian people are prone to accumulating intra-abdominal fat at a lower BMI than people of Caucasian origin. So, the thresholds for the overweight and obese categories are lower. 

For example, in Hong Kong and Singapore, a BMI of 23 falls under the overweight category, whereas in the United States, a BMI score of 25 is considered overweight.

For Asian and South Asian populations:

BMI (Asian and South Asian) Weight standard
BMI between 23 and 24.9 Overweight
BMI greater than 25 Obesity

The HealthifyMe Note

The BMI chart is generally for adults aged 20 and older and is the same for adult men and women. BMI calculations are adjusted for gender when they’re for children and teens. Moreover, the pediatric BMI chart allows comparison between children of the same sex and age. Since individual variations exist, BMI is not always the accurate way to classify a person as obese or malnourished.

BMI Limitations and Problems

While BMI is a starting point to screen for an unhealthy weight-height ratio that may lead to health issues, it is often not a reliable or realistic estimate. 

That is because BMI calculations do not consider age, gender, body frame size, muscle mass, genetic factors, bone density, activity level, or fat distribution.

Therefore, even if your BMI is in the normal range, you could still have high visceral fat since the test doesn’t account for fat. In addition, BMI tests fail to follow the fact that being thin doesn’t necessarily equal being healthy.

BMI also doesn’t consider muscle mass. Muscle weighs more than fat, so if you have toned muscles or lift weights, your BMI score could be high even if you’re not overweight or obese. 

For example, an athlete with a high BMI will still be metabolically healthy and have little visceral fat. So as per the BMI standards, even a recreational athlete with slightly above-average muscle mass could fall into the overweight category. 

Women often have more body fat than men. However, BMI does not correctly measure this physiological body fat percentage difference between males and females. 

In addition to gender-based fat distribution, BMI fails to consider ethnic disparities in body fat. Hence, BMI is a flawed approach for the reasons given above.

Better Measurements of Health

If you do not believe that Body Mass Index (BMI) is not a totally accurate way to measure your health, there are other tools to assess your signs of wellness and body fat levels. Even if your BMI is not high, you should focus on your metabolic parameters to acquire a healthy weight. 

The HealthifyPro 2.0 programme by HealthifyMe can help you assess your ‘metabolic well-being’ through real-time insights into your Glucose levels and a complete health screening across 85+ health parameters. 

This professional health programme includes a Smart Scale that breaks down your body weight into 12+ parameters like body fat, muscle mass, protein, hydration, and more. Your Smart Scale measures your progress and helps you lose the right kind of weight within the right duration.

You only need a simple Bluetooth connection to sync your Smart Scale with your phone (iOS and Android). Along with BMI, HealthifyMe Smart Scale helps you track weight, body fat, visceral fat, BMR, metabolic age, muscle mass, bone mass, subcutaneous fat, and skeletal mass. 

A one-on-one consultation with the HealthifyMe health coaches can help you design a diet and training routine tailored to your specific BMI needs.

HealthifyPro and its improved version, HealthifyPro 2.0, can aid in finding what foods work for you, what do not, what you are doing wrong, and how much you should exercise. Irrespective of whether you have a high BMI or not, the Pro plan nudges you to make healthier food choices throughout the day. In addition, monitoring your blood sugar in real-time can help fine-tune your eating habits, reduce calorie consumption and possibly lose weight.

Since each user is different, the app provides a customised diet to help lose weight, attain good metabolic health, and have a healthy BMI range. The coaches are easily accessible and provide timely guidance on the activities you should do.

In addition, you can directly message them on the app when you feel something is wrong. As noted earlier, pairing the smart scale with the HealthifyPro app shows you the weight (percentage) you have lost and how much more you need to lose. And once you have the data, you are one step closer to attaining an ideal BMI. 

There are some BMI chart alternatives you can use.

Waist Circumference

Measure your waist circumference halfway between the ribcage’s bottom region and the top of your hip bones. You must be breathing out and keep the tape measure parallel to the floor when you measure. 

Female

  • Increased health risk: ≥80cm
  • High health risk: ≥88cm

Male

  • Increased health risk: ≥94cm                  
  • High health risk: ≥102cm

Waist-To-Hip Ratio

Aiming to reduce the waist-to-hip ratio is better than trying to lower BMI. To measure, find your waist circumference and hip size at the widest part of your hips. Then, divide your waist circumference by your hip measurement to get a ratio. 

In women, a ratio greater than 0.85 is unhealthy. For men, the waist-to-hip ratio must be less than 1.00. 

Manual tracking and calculation is a big commitment and time-consuming. But now, with on-demand health and fitness apps like HealthifyMe, you can receive weekly health status reports with technology-augmented insights. Also, it helps you better manage your daily routine and strive towards a healthier one.

Conclusion

The BMI, or body mass index, measures your body fat based on height and weight. BMI does not measure body fat directly, but it is helpful to estimate whether you are carrying too much weight for your height. BMI is used to screen for weight categories that may lead to health problems, but it is not a diagnostic tool. 

For example, a BMI of 25-35 is considered healthy for most people, but this range may be too high for some people, especially those who are muscular or athletic. A BMI over 35 may increase the risk of chronic health problems.

If you are concerned about your weight, you should consult a doctor or healthcare professional. The expert coaches at HealthifyMe can help you understand the influence of diet and lifestyle on BMI and provide a personalised diet and fitness plan to reach your target weight goal. 

A subscription to the HealthifyMe app is the easiest way to build overall health and fitness.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. What is a good BMI for a woman?

A. Doctors consider 18.5–24.9 as the moderate BMI range for women. A BMI of 30 or above may signify obesity. However, the BMI is not an accurate reflector of body fat if a woman is pregnant, lactating, or over 60. In such cases, measuring your abdominal circumference, waist-hip, or waist-height ratio is the best option.

Q. What is a good BMI for women my age?

A. For most women in the adult age group, an ideal BMI is in the 18.5 to 24.9 range. However, some Asian women come under the overweight category if their BMI is 22-25 and obese if their BMI is around 26-31. On the other hand, older women do better if they have a BMI score between 25 and 27. Moreover, if you are an older adult, having a BMI below 23 or above 33 poses health risks. 

Q. How much should a 5’5 female weigh?

A. A 5′ 5″ female should weigh around 51.2/62.6 kg or 113/138 lb. However, your ideal weight depends on age and body composition factors like bone, muscle, and fat content. So, this value is an approximate weight that you should maintain.

Q. How much should a 5’4 female weigh?

A. According to the height weight chart, an average 5′ 4″ female’s ideal weight can be between 49/59.9 kg or 108/132 lb. However, your weight can fluctuate from this value depending on multiple factors like age, body frame, diet, medical history, and lifestyle. 

Q. How much should a 60-year-old woman weigh?

A. The ideal weight for older women varies according to height and frame size. For example, a 60-year-old woman who is 5 feet 2 inches tall has a desirable body weight range of 108 to 143 lbs, while a 5-foot-6 woman of the same age has a healthy weight range of 120 to 159 pounds.

Q. How much should a 67-year-old woman weigh?

A. The average woman of 67 years weighs 166 lb or 75 kg. However, it is different for women with smaller body frames. Your racial and ethnic background plays a part too. For example, most Asian women weigh around 140 lb or 63 kg at 67 years. 

Q. What is an unhealthy weight for a 5’ 4 female?

A. For a 5′ 4″ female, a weight below 49 kg or 108 lb is unhealthy. At the same time, weighing more than 59.9 kg or 132 lb can also lead to weight-related health risks. Therefore, the ideal weight range for a 5′ 4″ female is around 49/59.9 kg or 108/132 lb. 

Q. What is a healthy body weight for 5 5?

A. As per the height-to-weight ratio chart guide, the healthy body weight for a 5′ 5″ female is 51.2/62.6 kg or 113/138 lb. For men of the same height, weighing around 55.3/68 kg or 122/150 lb is healthy. Besides the healthy weight guidelines for males and females, the ideal weight can also depend on the body type and activity level.

Q. What is a good weight for a 5-foot-tall woman?

A. The healthy weight for a 5-foot-tall woman can vary per the body frame. For example, a small-framed 5-foot-tall woman should weigh about 90 pounds or no less than 40.8 kilograms, while a medium-framed woman of the same height should ideally weigh 100 lb or 45 kg. And a large-framed 5-foot-tall woman should weigh about 110 pounds or 49.9 kg. Therefore, the ideal weight of a 5-foot-tall female is between 40.8 kg to 49.9 kg.

Q. How much should a 70-year-old weigh?

A. At 70 years old, the ideal weight of an average man of height 157-172 cm can be between 141-157 lb or 64-71 kg. However, the range can go as high as 172-197 lb or 78-89 kg if the person is of a large frame with a height of more than 6′ 2″. The average weight for women at 70 years old is around 160 lb or 72.5 kg.

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