Understanding BMI (Body Mass Index)

You may have heard your doctor or perhaps a buddy who’s into fitness mention BMI, but what is it really? Body Mass Index (BMI) is the simplest measurement used to check whether you are a at healthy weight. BMI makes a comparison between your height and bodyweight to establish whether you are healthy, overweight or underweight. Contrary to the assumption that one BMI chart is suitable for both genders, research has shown that men and women’s healthy weights vary, hence prompting the use of different BMI charts for both sexes. Before going into the finer details of the BMI system, it must be understood that some people will naturally fall out of its realm. For example, if you are a professional bodybuilder your BMI will be in the obese range even though you have little fat in your body. If you are pregnant, the extra baby weight could easily tip your BMI off the scale. Always when measuring BMI these things need to be taken into consideration. It is a measurement of healthy weight for the everyday person, not the extreme athlete.


The BMI calculation is simple. First, you need an accurate way to measure your height and weight. A set of quality and reliable measuring scales, a tape measure and a trustworthy friend will normally do the trick. The formula varies depending on the units you use to measure your weight and height:

Meters (cm) and kilograms: BMI = Weight / height2

Pounds and inches: BMI = (Weight / height2) x 703.0704

Hate math? Just use this online BMI calculator, feed in your height and weight and wait for the results. BINGO!

General interpretation of the result for women:

  • A score below 18.5 means that you are underweight. Talk to an expert to help find out why you are underweight. This will help you to take steps to get back into the safe zone.
  • Between 18.5 and 24.9 is the healthy BMI range. Work towards maintaining this range by eating healthily and working out regularly.
  • Anything above 25 is considered above the ideal weight. This means you are overweight and are at a higher risk of weight related health disorders.
  • A BMI of 30 or more means you are obese and should consult a doctor or nutritionist to help bring your BMI down into the healthy range.


Females naturally gain weight as they age. Even though your BMI should still be within the healthy range, having an upward curving graph means you are healthier in comparison to having a single BMI score across the years. Don’t beat yourself up when your BMI leans towards 25 in your late 30’s, It is normal – but not always desirable. Eating healthy and working out regularly will help you keep those extra pounds off.


Author: Claire Trojkovic
Author Bio: Claire is a personal trainer from Australia and one of the top Nutrition Souq editors. She’s a fitness and travel expert with a degree in Literature and a Certificate 4 in Fitness and Nutrition. Her particular interests are yoga, bodybuilding, diets, weight loss, herbal remedies and travel. She also manages and writes on her own blog and has written guest articles for various online fitness publications.