What Is My BMI, Is It More Important Than My Weight, And What Is A Healthy BMI?

Dr. Eisenson answers the question: 'What is BMI, How Important is it?'

ByHoward Eisenson, M.D., Executive Director, Duke Diet and Fitness Center
December 22, 2008, 3:55 PM

February 1, 2009 -- Question: What is my BMI, is it more important than my weight, and what is a healthy BMI?

Answer: BMI is more helpful than weight in assessing degree of overweight. BMI is a measure of weight for height. It stands for body mass index. It's the internationally accepted classification for overweight and obesity using 18.5-25 as a normal or healthy BMI, 25-30 the overweight range, 30 and above the obesity range.

Another thing that we will look at in addition to BMI in assessing degree of excess weight is the waist circumference measured across the top of the hips. For women, a healthy waist circumference is less than 35 inches. For men it should be less than 40 inches.

And combining those two measures, the BMI (the body mass index) and the waist circumference, I think provides us with a very nice fix on health risks that an individual may be facing based on their weight.

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