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The body mass index (BMI) is a measure of weight relative to height and is commonly used to classify underweight, overweight and obesity in adult men and women. It is defined as the weight in Kg divided by the square of the height in metres. e.g., An adult weighing 65 Kg and 1.7 m tall will have a bmi of 22.48.
BMI = 65 Kg/ (1.7 m2) = 65/ 2.89 = 22.49
It is pertinent to note that BMI calculation (formula) is age-independent and the same for both sexes. However, for children below 19 years of age, BMI values are interpreted based on sex- and age-specific percentiles.
|Body Weight||BMI Range|
|Moderate thinness||16.00 - 16.99|
|Mild thinness||17.00 - 18.49|
|Normal range||18.50 - 24.99|
|Pre-obese||25.00 - 29.99|
|Obese class I||30.00 - 34.99|
|Obese class II||35.00 - 39.99|
|Obese class III||>=40.00|
As state above, BMI is a good indicator of obesity. Overweight and obesity lead to adverse metabolic effects on blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides and insulin resistance. Risks of coronary heart disease, ischemic stroke and type 2 diabetes mellitus increase steadily with increasing body mass index (BMI).