What is BMI, Waist circumference and how do you measure it?

Body Mass Index is one among the commonly used method used by professionals to calculate the body fat.

As it is easy to use one can calculate their BMI using their height and weight.

Other measures of body fat, such as skinfold thicknesses, bioelectrical impedance, underwater weighing and dual energy X-ray absorption, maybe more accurate than BMI. BMI is calculated in the same way in all ages but interpreted differently in adults and children.

Formula to calculate BMI is Weight (kg) / Height (m)2.

Weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared (kg/m2).

The formula needs to be altered slightly when using pounds and inches (Weight (lbs.) * 703) / Height (inches)2. Multiply your weight in pounds by 703. Divide that by your height in inches, squared.


BMI of less than 18.5: A BMI of less than 18.5 indicates that you are underweight, so you may need to put on some weight, in a healthy manner.

BMI of 18.5-23: A BMI of 18.5-23 kg/m2 indicates normal BMI.

BMI of 23–27.5 kg/m2: A BMI of 23–27.5 kg/m2 indicates that you are  overweight.

BMI of over 27.5 kg/m2: A BMI of 27.5 kg/m2 or higher indicates that you are heavily overweight.

As one can calculate their BMI easily using above formulas, they can assess their own health and it is helpful in preventing certain diseases and problems caused by overweight.

What is waist circumference:

Measurement taken around abdomen that is just below the belly button is called waist circumference. It is used to screen many weight related health conditions like diabetes, heart diseases etc.

Waist circumference alone cannot indicate that you have a medical condition or that you’ll get one in the future. But it can help you and your doctor to determine where fat is located on your body and if that fat may cause health problems for you in the future.

How to measure waist circumference:

  1. Find the top of your hip bone and the bottom of your ribs. Place the tape measure midway between these points and wrap it around your waist.
  2. Tape should not be too tight and it must be straight, even at the back. Don’t hold your breath while measuring.
  3. Check the number on the tape measure right after you exhale.
  4. Stand up to get an accurate waist measurement.
  5. Measure it 2-3 times to get accurate result.

If Waist circumference is high, it indicates you are having increased risk in developing weight related health conditions. When in men it is  ≥90 cms and in women if it is ≥80cms we call it as abnormal.






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