Weight Loss Home > Body Mass Index Formula

A simple mathematical equation, the formula for determining body mass index allows an individual to indirectly measure his or her level of body fat. The same formula is used for men and women, and while it can also be used to determine a child's body mass index, the results are interpreted differently. There are two slightly different versions of this formula: one is meant for use with the metric system and the other is compatible with the English system.

What Is the Body Mass Index Formula?

Being overweight or obese increases a person's chances of developing several health problems, including:
 

 

(Click BMI and Weight for more information on what other factors healthcare providers consider when determining risk for certain medical conditions related to weight.)
 
But how can you quickly determine if you're overweight or obese? The answer lies in your body mass index, or BMI for short. This number is an indirect measure of a person's body fatness.
 
The formula for finding body mass index is a simple equation used to calculate BMI in both adults and children, regardless of gender or ethnicity. The criteria used to interpret the meaning of the body mass index for children and teens are different from those used for adults (see Body Mass Index for Children).
 
Also, the formula does differ slightly depending on whether you use the metric system or the English system.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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