Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"How can I determine a healthy BMI for myself?"
Do those online calculators work? I am 25, 5' 11, and 150 pounds. Is this healthy?
BMI, or body mass index, is a standard measure of the ratio between a person's height and weight. The advantage of using BMI as a way of monitoring a healthy body weight is that it accounts for the variation in different body types for determining a health weight. Generally accepted ranges in the medical literature indicate that a healthy body weight for a person's given height should result in a BMI between 18.5 and 25. A BMI between 25 and 30 is considered overweight, and a BMI greater than 30 is considered obese. Your BMI is 20.9 which indicates that you are at a healthy body weight for your height. Online calculators do the same math that you can do yourself: take your weight in pounds and divide by your height in inches squared, then multiple that product by 703. The BMI is not a perfect measure, but its limitations likely do not apply to you given your age. In younger patients with a high muscle mass (and thus a higher weight because muscle is the most dense body tissue), a BMI may appear to be falsely elevated. Similarly, in elderly patients a BMI may underestimate body fat. However, at age 25, it seems that your BMI is perfectly healthy. If you have questions about your weight, you can always discuss this further with your primary care physician.
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