Do you want to know how fit and healthy you really are? One way of assessing whether you’re within a healthy weight range is to calculate your BMI (Body Mass Index). BMI is a calculation that uses your height and weight to estimate how much body fat you have. In this article, we’ll show you how to calculate BMI with pounds & inches.
What is BMI?
BMI is a measurement that assesses body weight and takes into account height. It’s a simple calculation that can be used to assess whether someone is overweight, underweight or of normal weight for their height. BMI is a useful indicator of health problems associated with being over or underweight, such as heart disease and diabetes.
Calculating BMI is a simple process. you can use the following calculation:
|BMI||=||Weight (lb) x 703||/||[Height (in)]²|
If you prefer to use metric measurements, you can use this formula:
|BMI||=||Weight (kg)||/||[Height (m)]²|
Weight and height for both formulas should be measured in pounds and inches, or kilograms and meters respectively.
Step by Step Guide
- Weigh yourself and convert your weight to pounds if necessary (1 kilogram is equal to 2.205 pounds).
- Measure your height in inches (1 meter is equal to 39.37 inches).
- Square your height in inches. This means you multiply your height by itself to get your height squared.
- Multiply your weight in pounds by 703.
- Divide the result from step 4 by the result from step 3. The result is your BMI.
What Does A BMI Score Mean?
Once you have calculated your BMI score, you can use it to determine what your score means:
- BMI of 18.5 or lower: underweight
- BMI between 18.5 and 24.9: healthy weight range
- BMI between 25 and 29.9: overweight
- BMI of 30 or higher: obese
A BMI score is not perfect, as it doesn’t take into account the distribution of fat in the body, and may therefore overestimate body fat in athletes or those with muscular builds. However, it is a useful tool for most people to assess their fat levels since in general, it correlates with body fat levels.
Why Is BMI Important?
In general, a high BMI score means that you are carrying around more body fat than is healthy for your height and age. Having a higher BMI will increase your risk for certain health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. However, a low BMI score may also indicate being underweight, which can lead to malnutrition and other health problems.
BMI is not a perfect indicator of health. It doesn’t take into account factors such as age or overall health. For example, some older people may have a higher BMI yet still be healthy or some athletes may have a higher BMI because of their muscle mass.
An additional measurement that can be taken along with BMI is waist measurement. Waist circumference measures central adiposity, and it’s a better predictor of health problems than BMI alone. Women with waists of 35 inches or above and men with waists of 40 inches or above are at increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other health problems.
Health Risks Of Being Overweight Or Obese
Being overweight or obese increases the risk of a range of health problems including:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Coronary artery disease
- High blood pressure
- Gallbladder disease
- Respiratory disease
- Sleep apnea
- Some cancers including breast and colon
If your BMI score indicates that you’re overweight or obese, you can take steps to lose weight, including:
- Reduce your calorie intake
- Increase physical activity levels
- Combine both approaches above
Losing as little as 5-10% of your body weight can lead to health improvements.
The Bottom Line
The BMI score is an easy and inexpensive way to measure body fat levels, but it may not always be an accurate measure for everyone. Waist circumference measurement combined with BMI provides a better assessment of health risk.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some common questions and answers related to calculating BMI.
Q: What is the ideal BMI score?
A: A BMI score of between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered to be a healthy weight range.
Q: What is considered obese using BMI?
A: A BMI score of 30 or higher is considered to be obese.
Q: Is BMI a reliable measure of body fat?
A: BMI is not a perfect indicator of health, but it is a useful tool for most people to assess their fat levels.
Q: What are the limitations of BMI?
A: BMI doesn’t take into account factors such as age or overall health. Nonetheless, it is a useful tool to assess the majority of the population.
Q: What are the health risks of being overweight or obese?
A: Being overweight or obese increases the risk of a range of health problems including Type 2 diabetes, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and some cancers.
Q: What are the benefits of losing weight if I’m overweight or obese?
A: Losing as little as 5-10% of your body weight can lead to health improvements, such as improved blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar control.
- Berryman, D. E. (2000). How to Calculate BMI. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 85(1), 463–464. https://doi.org/10.1210/jcem.85.1.6295
- Yancey, D. (2014). Body mass index. In Encyclopedia of behavioral medicine (pp. 219-219). Springer, New York, NY. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1005-9_331