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Body Mass Index (BMI) - Topic Overview

Your body mass index (BMI) camera.gif and waist size camera.gif affect your risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and coronary artery disease. The following table shows the risk.

Body mass index (BMI) and the risk for diseases1
Classification BMI Waist size and relative risk

Men: less than 40 in. (102 cm)

Women: less than 35 in. (88 cm)

Men: 40 in. (102 cm) or more

Women: 35 in. (88 cm) or more

Normal18.5–24.9Increased risk
Overweight25–29.9Increased riskHigh risk
Obesity I30–34.9High riskVery high risk
Obesity II35–39.9Very high riskVery high risk
Obesity III (extreme)40 or aboveExtremely high riskExtremely high risk

For Asian people, each risk category may include lower BMIs than those listed in the table.

Did You Know?

Under the Affordable Care Act, many health insurance plans will cover preventive care services, including obesity screening and nutrition counseling, at no cost to you. Learn more.

Health Insurance Center

A BMI under 18.5 is considered unhealthy. There is risk that you are not getting sufficient nutrition (malnutrition). Complications of malnutrition include anemia, nutrient deficiency, heart irregularities, loss of menstrual periods in women (amenorrhea), cavities, and osteoporosis.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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