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Research has determined that calculating body mass index (BMI) is an accurate method for measuring a person's amount of body fat. BMI is a mathematical formula that uses a person's height and weight. To make it easier, the BMI results are put into an obesity chart that can be used by anyone, regardless of age, gender, race, or ethnicity.

What Is the Obesity Chart?

Nearly two-thirds of adults in the United States, or about 130 million adults, are overweight (defined as a BMI between 25.0 and 29.9). Nearly 61 million of those adults are obese (defined as a BMI greater than or equal to 30).
 
Research on obesity has shown that an accurate measure of the amount of body fat is a test called body mass index (BMI). BMI does not measure body fat directly, but it does closely correspond to direct measures of body fat.
 
BMI uses a mathematical formula that takes into account a person's height and weight. The BMI formula equals a person's weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared (BMI=kg/m2). To make it easier to calculate a person's BMI, the possible variations of height and weight have been put into an obesity chart. This same chart can be used by anyone, regardless of age, gender, race, or ethnicity.
 
(The obesity chart is more commonly referred to as a BMI chart because it can determine weight status in general, not just whether someone is obese.)
 
Besides a chart, other ways of measuring BMI include the BMI calculator or the BMI formula.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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