The most common method for screening for obesity is calculating Body Mass Index (BMI), which is an easy-to-perform correlation of weight to height that applies to adult men and women. BMI is a fairly reliable indicator of body fat for most people. However, it does not measure body fat directly, which means that some people, such as muscular athletes, may have a BMI that indicates they are overweight or obese, even though they have no excess body fat. If your BMI indicates you are overweight or obese, your WellStar physician will use additional tools to confirm the diagnosis and develop a treatment plan.
Body Mass Index (BMI)
The formula for calculating your BMI is your weight in pounds multiplied by 703, divided by your height in inches, divided by your height in inches again. This equals your BMI.
For example, with a weight of 150 lbs. and height of 5 ft. 5 in. (65 in.) the calculation is: 150 x 703 ÷ 65 ÷ 65 = 24.96
Once calculated, BMI numbers indicate:
- Underweight = <18.5
- Normal weight = 18.5–24.9
- Overweight = 25–29.9
- Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater
Other tests for estimating body fat include:
- Measuring skinfold thickness with calipers
- Measuring waist circumference – greater than 40 in. for men and 35 in. for women indicates obesity
- Waist-to-hip circumference ratios