How to Calculate Body Mass Index

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BMI or Body Mass Index is an indicator usually used to determine whether the weight of an individual is appropriate for his or her height. It is also an in important indicator of changes in body fat stores. However, in certain disease conditions such as fluid retention, as ascites and edema, BMI should not be used. BMI is also not that accurate to be used in athletes and elders. The steps to be followed on how to calculate Body Mass Index are as follows:

First, measure the height of the person in meters. If it is not possible to get their height in meters, get the height in feet and inches and just convert it after into meters. The conversion factor of meter to inches is, every 1 meter is equivalent to 3.3 feet or 39.6 inches. For instance, if the height of the person is 5 feet and 6 inches, to convert it into meters, get 5 feet and divide it by 3.3. That is, 5/3.3 = 1.52. To use the unit, meter, multiply the value by 1 meter. Therefore it is 1.52 meters. Then, for the remaining 6 inches, convert it to meters by dividing 6 by 39.6. That is, 6 inches, divided by 39.6 inches is 0.15, then multiply the result by 1 meter to get 0.15 meter. 1.52 meter plus 0.15 meter is equal to 1.67 meters. Therefore, for a height of 5’6″, when converted into meters, it is 1.67 meters.

Second, measure the person’s weight in kilograms. If the given data weight is not in kilograms, another conversion is to be done. In this case, one kilogram is equivalent to 2.2 pounds. Therefore, if the given weight is 150 lbs, it can be converted into kilograms by dividing the value by 2.2. That is, 150 lbs/ 2.2 lbs = 68.18. To get the unit, which is kilograms, multiply the value by 1 kg. That is 68.18 x 1 Kg = 68.18 Kg. Therefore, if the given weight is 150 lbs, the equivalent value in kilogram is 68.18 Kg.

Third, compute the BMI by using the following formula:

BMI = Weight in kilograms
(Height in meters) 2


BMI = 68.18 Kg = 24.44 kg/m2
1.67 x 1.67 (meters) 2

After calculating for the Body Mass Index, the resulting value would then be used and compared to a given set of standard. The normal BMI range is 18.5 – 24.9. A BMI anything below 18.5 is already considered as underweight. On the other hand, for values exceeding 24.9, it is still divided into overweight and obesity classes I, II, and III. An individual is considered overweight if the BMI is from 25 – 29.9. If the value is from 30-34.9, that is considered as obesity class I. If the values are 35- 39.9 it is considered as obesity class II, while obesity class III has a BMI of 40 or above. It is quite important for an individual to know how to calculate body mass index so that he or she can use this for his or her own advantage.

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