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Body Mass Index (BMI)

Body mass index (BMI) is a number based on a person's weight and height that provides a way to estimate the effect of weight on health. The higher the BMI, the greater the risk of some diseases, including high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, stroke, osteoarthritis, some cancers, and type 2 diabetes.

To calculate exact BMI, one of the following equations is used:

  • The person's weight in pounds and height in inches: BMI = (pounds x 703) divided by (inches squared)
  • The person's weight in kilograms and height in meters: BMI = kilograms divided by (meters squared)

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
Current as of March 12, 2014

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.