A BMI calculator (Body Mass Index) estimates body fat. BMI calculators do this by calculating the ratio of weight to height. They are helpful for calculating your own BMI. A BMI calculator can help you figure out if your health might be at risk due to your body fat.
Skip straight to the calculator or continue reading to learn more about the science and theory behind BMI calculators.
BMI calculators use this formula to calculate BMI: weight (kg) / [height (m)]2.
BMI is highly correlated with other direct measures of calculating body fat. BMI categories also highly correlate with disease outcomes measured by more direct measures of body fat. The BMI calculation is a simple, fast and effective way to estimate body fat. BMI calculators are great screening tools; however, make health and medical decisions in consultation with a healthcare professional.
Yes and no. BMI calculators estimate body fat based on height and weight; however, BMI is not a direct measure of body fat. Moreover, people with the same BMI could have different amounts of body fat. For example, the CDC notes that women tend to have more body fat than men and a few other differences.
BMI calculators can be used to calculate children’s and teens’ BMI, but they are different from adult BMI calculators. BMI calculations for children and teens should be age and sex-specific since their bodies change so rapidly as they grow. Read about how to exercise for every age.
Yes and no. Athletes tend to have more muscle mass than non-athletes. This means some athletes may skew into overweight BMI categories since muscle weighs more than fat. This could especially be the case for strength-focused athletes. On the other hand, endurance athletes can sometimes skew into the underweight category despite being very healthy.
Again, BMI calculators are an excellent screening tool, but medical decisions should be made with a medical professional.
BMI calculators can help you figure out if you are overweight. Being overweight is associated with higher risk factors for your health. Cancer, heart disease, diabetes and many other diseases are more common in people who are overweight.
Meet with your doctor if you are outside the normal weight range. They will be able to give you more insights into your health than a simple BMI calculator estimation ever could.
Here are some additional resources that may interest you:
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