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Body Mass Index (BMI)

What is my “BMI” and What Does it Mean to Me?


A healthy weight is defined as the appropriate weight in relation to height. This ratio of weight to height is known as the body mass index (BMI).

People who are overweight might have too much body weight for their height. People who are obese almost always have a large amount of body fat in relation to their height. There are exceptions, of course. Big athletes with lots of muscle might have a BMI over 30.0 but would not be considered obese from the perspective of health risk.

Use a BMI calculator for adults and learn your BMI by entering your height and weight.

For Teens: overweight is defined differently than it is for adults. Because teens are still growing, and boys and girls develop at different rates, BMIs for children 2 to 20 years old are determined by comparing their weight and height against growth charts that take their age and gender into account.

A child or teen’s “BMI-for-age” shows how his or her BMI compares with other boys or girls of the same age. A child or teen who is between the 85th and 95th percentile on the growth chart is considered at risk of overweight. A child or teen who is at the 95th percentile or above is considered overweight.

Ask your family doctor, pediatrician, or other health care provider about your child’s BMI-for-age. Click here for more information about BMI-for-age and growth charts for children.