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Body Mass Index (BMI)

Developed sometime between 1830 and 1850 by Adolphe Quetelet, the Quetelet Index more popularly known as the Body Mass Index (BMI) is an effective way to determine the amount of fat in the body and whether the amount measured already poses a health risk to the individual.

The BMI is computed using a person's height and weight. To get your Body Mass Index, divide you weight in kilograms by the square of your height. The optimal Body Mass Index is from 18.5 to 25 while a BMI of over 30 indicates that a person is obese. An individual with BMI of 25 to 29.99 is considered overweight. Those with a rating over 40 are defined as morbidly obese. A person with BMI Over 15 but less than 18 is considered underweight while a person with BMI rating lower than 15 is considered to be already in 'starvation'. People suffering from Anorexia or other eating disorders have dangerously low BMI.

Since there are diseases associated with being overweight, the higher the BMI, the higher a person's medical risk. However, BMI should not be used as the only method for measuring body fat, as the Qutelet method does not take into consideration bone structure, muscle mass, bone mass, fitness levels and other factors that affect a person's body fat level.



Original Authors: Doods Pangburn
Edit Update Authors: Ryan Norfolk
Updated On: 05/12/2006

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