Body Mass Index (BMI) is measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to both adult men and women. BMI does not differentiate between body fat and muscle mass. Therefore, body builders and people who have a lot of muscle bulk will have a high BMI but are not overweight or obese.
BMI is usually a good indicator of body fat for most people. Although it doesn’t directly measure body fat, it closely correlates to direct measures of body fat, such as underwater weighing. BMI is also an inexpensive and easy-to-perform method that can help determine if a person’s current weight could potentially lead to health problems.
It’s important to note that BMI is not a diagnostic tool. Whether a person has a high BMI or low BMI, an individual’s personal measurement should be left to a reputable doctor to determine if excess weight is a health risk. Further assessments may need to be completed including:
- Family history
- Evaluations of diet and physical activity
- Skinfold thickness measurements