Body Mass Index (BMI)

Body Mass Index or BMI is a number calculated from a person's body weight and height and is how the National Institutes of Health (NIH) now defines normal weight, overweight, and obesity. In most cases, this measure also correlates with the total body fat content.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), research has shown that individuals with a higher BMI are more likely to experience obesity-related health problems. For adults 20 years old and older, the following BMI ranges can be used:

Below 18.5 Underweight
18.5-24.9 Normal
25.0-29.9 Overweight
30.0 and Above Obese

Once you know your BMI, you can take action. If your BMI is above normal, you can decide how you want to reach and maintain a healthy weight.

Best Practices:

Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is about balancing what you eat (calories) and how you burn those calories (physical activity plus body function) every day. Instead of going on a diet, think about making healthy changes in the way you live. Take small steps. Even a 5 to 10% weight loss can lead to a healthier you.

  1. Set a reasonable weight loss goal. One to two pounds a week is a safe and reachable goal.
  2. Eat fewer calories. How?
    • Learn what a serving is and eat reasonable portions.
    • Eat breakfast. Research shows that eating breakfast helps people control their appetite and not gain as much weight.
    • Eat more fruit and vegetables every day.
    • Drink more water and fewer sodas or sugared drinks.
  3. Move more every day. Start slowly and work up to at least 30 minutes a day most days of the week. Choose an activity you enjoy. All activity counts as long as it is done for at least ten minutes at a time.
  4. Keep a record of your progress by writing down the food you eat every day and your minutes of physical activity. Weigh yourself every week and keep a record of your weight loss as you move forward toward your goal.

How we can help:

Health Plus offers body mass index screenings throughout the year at Know Your Numbers events. If you know your height and weight, you can also calculate your own Body Mass Index.

Learn more about Weight Management programs at Vanderbilt or call 615-343-8943 for more information.

Keywords: Weight, Underweight, Normal weight, Overweight, Obese, Body Fat, Lose Weight