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BMI is a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters.BMI does not measure body fat directly, but research has shown that BMI is moderately correlated with more direct measures of body fat obtained from skinfold thickness measurements, bioelectrical impedance, densitometry (underwater weighing), dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and other methods A high BMI can be an indicator of high body fatness.BMI can be used as a screening tool but is not diagnostic of the body fatness or health of an individual.To determine if a high BMI is a health risk, a healthcare provider would need to perform further assessments.These assessments might include skinfold thickness measurements, evaluations of diet, physical activity, family history, and other appropriate health screenings (obese status) has greatly increased since the 1970s.Recently, however, this trend has leveled off, except for older women.Obesity has continued to increase in adult women who are age 60 years and older.
Because calculation requires only height and weight, it is inexpensive and easy to use for clinicians and for the general public.
BMI can be used as a screening tool for body fatness but is not diagnostic.
To see the formula based on either kilograms and meters or pounds and inches, visit How is BMI calculated?
Other methods to measure body fatness include skinfold thickness measurements (with calipers), underwater weighing, bioelectrical impedance, dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA), and isotope dilution .
However, these methods are not always readily available, and they are either expensive or need to be conducted by highly trained personnel.
Furthermore, many of these methods can be difficult to standardize across observers or machines, complicating comparisons across studies and time periods.