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What Does BMI Stand For?

Some people may wonder, "What does BMI stand for?" BMI stands for body mass index, a measurement that evaluates the level of body fat in an individual. It is determined simply by using a person's height and weight. BMI is often used to screen for weight categories that can lead to serious health problems, such as heart disease and diabetes.

What Does BMI Stand For?

Over 100 million adult Americans are overweight or obese. Being overweight or obese increases a person's chances for developing serious health problems, including:


How does someone know if they are overweight or obese? Research on obesity has shown that a calculation called BMI can be an accurate measure of body fatness.

BMI stands for body mass index. While BMI does not measure body fat directly, it corresponds pretty closely to direct measures of body fat. Therefore, BMI can be considered an alternative for direct measures of body fat.
BMI is determined by a person's height and weight. Because the BMI calculation requires only height and weight, it is inexpensive and easy to use. BMI is used as a method of screening for weight categories that may lead to health problems (see Health Effects of Obesity).

How to Calculate BMI

There are three ways to determine your BMI:
  • Calculate BMI using the BMI formula
  • Use the BMI chart
  • Use the BMI calculator.
Any of these three methods will get the same BMI result. Everyone can use one of these three methods regardless of age, gender, race, or ethnicity. There is no specific BMI chart for women or men.
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