What is Body Mass Index (BMI)?

The Body Mass Index or BMI is measure of body fat based on height & weight that applies to both adult men & women.

BMI does not differentiate between body fat & muscle mass.  So, body builders & people who have a lot of muscle bulk will have a high BMI but will not be classified as overweight or obese.

BMI Classifications

Classification

BMI

Underweight <19
Ideal BMI 19 – 25
Overweight  25 – 30
Obese  > 30
Severely Obese  > 35
Morbidly Obese  > 40
Super Obese  > 50

Different Types of Fat

An obese person can develop a certain body profile. There are Two different types of fat deposits. Fat predominantly distributed around the waist is also a risk factor for health complications such as cardiovascular disease & type II diabetes.  Fat predominantly deposited around the hips & buttocks does not seem to carry this same risk level.

References
Victorian Government, Better Health Channel, available at http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Body_Mass_Index_(BMI)?opendocument, last accessed 09/01/11
World Health Organisation, Global Database on Body Mass Index, available at http://apps.who.int/bmi/index.jsp?introPage=intro_3.html , last accessed 09/01/11

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