Body mass index

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Body mass index (BMI) is used as an indicator of general health. It is calculated taking into account a person's height and weight.

The calculation is: BMI = Weight (kg) / Height2 (m)

This calculation categorises people into distinct groups:

Height-weight tables are used to display this information in a clear manner.

However, calculating a person's BMI is not always the best method of calculating how healthy that person may be. For example, athletes may have higher body mass indices but have a very low body fat. Men are also likely to have a higher body mass index than women of the same height. It is only by considering body composition as a whole that we can get an ideal picture of how healthy or not a person may be. This includes looking at height, weight, gender, age, body fat percentage, frame size and energy expenditure [1].


  1. Gropper, S.S., Smith, J., and Groff, J., 2005. 'Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism,' Wadsworth/Thomson. (pp. 519-530).
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