Body Mass Index

What does BMI mean?

Find your height at the top or bottom of the chart. Click Here for chart. Follow the column up or down until you reach your weight to get your BMI rating. Click on the relevant box below to see what your rating means.

You can also check your BMI by using the BHF online BMI calculator

How accurate is the BMI?

The BMI is a useful measurement for most people over 18. But there are limitations to this system. For instance:

Adults with a very athletic build (eg, professional athletes) could show as overweight. This is because muscle weighs more than fat and the BMI does not take this into account.
If you’re pregnant, the BMI does not apply. You should seek advice from your doctor or midwife on what a healthy weight is.
See your doctor if you require a more precise reading.

Your BMI is a great starting point but you should also measure your waist. This is because people who carry too much weight around their middle have a greater risk of developing coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.

How to measure your waist

Use a soft tape measure and follow the steps below:

  • Find the top of your hip bone and the bottom of your ribs.
  • Breathe out naturally.
  • Place the tape measure midway between these points and wrap it around your waist.
  • Check your measurement.

Your health is at risk if                       Your health is at high risk
if you have a waist size of:                you have a waist size of: 

Men        Over 94cm (about 37 inches)                           Over 102cm (about 40 inches)

Women  Over 80cm (about 31.5 inches)                        Over 88cm (about 34.5 inches)

Asian men                                                                          Over 90cm (about 35.5 inches)

Asian women                                                                     Over 80cm (about 31.5 inches

Why are there separate measurements for Asian men and women?

People of Asian backgrounds tend to have a higher proportion of body fat to muscle than the rest of the UK population. They also tend to carry this fat around the middle. This leads to a greater risk of developing problems such as diabetes and coronary heart disease at a lower waist size than other people in the UK

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Source - British Heart Foundation

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