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Calculate your BMI with My French Dietitian's BMI Calculator

Updated: Apr 25

Understanding BMI: What Is It, How to Calculate It, and should you rely on it?

Try our BMI calculator.

man checking his belly size

What Is BMI?

BMI, or Body Mass Index, is a simple way to estimate whether a person has a healthy body weight for their height. It's calculated by dividing a person's weight in kilograms by their height in meters squared.

The resulting number provides a rough idea of whether a person is underweight, normal weight, overweight, obese, or clinically obese.

Here's a simplified breakdown:

Underweight: BMI below 18.5 - This suggests that a person may be too thin for their height, which can be unhealthy.

Normal Weight: BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 - This indicates a healthy weight range for most people of a given height.

Overweight: BMI between 25 and 29.9 - This suggests that a person may be carrying excess weight compared to their height, which can lead to health issues.

Obese: BMI between 30 and 34.9 - This indicates a higher level of excess weight, which can increase the risk of various health problems.

Clinically Obese: BMI of 35 or higher - This suggests a significant amount of excess weight and an increased risk of serious health conditions.

It's a handy tool, but it's essential to understand its limitations too.

bmi categories results

Calculate your BMI with My French Dietitian's BMI Calculator:


age: 43

weight: 70

height: 170

You're not happy with the result?

Don't worry, this might not be a big deal. Keep reading further.

Why is BMI useful?

  1. Quick Assessment: BMI provides a quick and straightforward way to assess whether your weight falls within a healthy range for your height.

  2. Health Risk Indicator: Research has linked higher BMI values with an increased risk of certain health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension. Monitoring your BMI can help identify potential health risks.

  3. Public Health: On a broader scale, BMI data helps public health officials evaluate trends in weight-related health issues within populations, aiding in the development of health policies and interventions.

When BMI May Not Be the Best Indicator

While BMI is a useful tool for many, it has limitations:

  1. Doesn't Account for Body Composition: BMI doesn't distinguish between muscle and fat. Athletes or individuals with high muscle mass may have a higher BMI, even if they have a low body fat percentage.

  2. Ignores Age and Gender: BMI doesn't consider age or gender differences. What's considered a healthy BMI for a young adult may not be the same for an elderly person.

  3. No Assessment of Fat Distribution: It doesn't account for where fat is stored in the body. Abdominal fat, known as visceral fat, is more closely associated with health risks than fat stored in other areas.

  4. Ethnic Variations: Different ethnic groups may have varying health risks at the same BMI. Some populations may be at higher risk of obesity-related health issues even with a lower BMI.

  5. Not Suitable for Children: BMI calculations for children and adolescents differ significantly from those for adults. Growth charts and percentiles are used instead.

In conclusion, BMI is a valuable tool for a quick assessment of weight-related health risks, but it should not be viewed in isolation.

It's essential to consider other factors like body composition, age, gender, and ethnic background when evaluating your overall health.

Always consult with a healthcare professional for a more comprehensive understanding of your health status and personalized guidance on maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

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