Calculating BMI is a
mathematical process of categorizing your weight according to your height. The calculation can be made
manually or via an automated method. BMI categories are underweight, normal weight, overweight and
The calculation is made by dividing your
weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared. The equation is as follows:
BMI =Weight (in
Since weight and height measurements are
more commonly made in pounds and inches respectively, if the BMI calculation is made manually, it is much more
practical to divide the weight in pounds by the height in square inches and multiply by a conversion factor which changes kilograms per square
meter into pounds per square inch. That conversion factor is 703.1. Therefore, the new equation for calculating
BMI using the weight and height recorded and pounds and inches rather than kilograms and meters is as
BMI = Weight (in pounds) X 703.1
Height (in inches)
Calculating BMI is rarely done manually
however, because of the various electronic devices that are currently available. Some BMI, calculators are
hand-held while others are computer-based. A hand-held BMI calculator might be an app on a mobile device or
a standalone device. Some computer-based calculators require an Internet connection for BMI calculation,
whereas others can be installed on computers as independently operating programs.
Calculating BMI with any of the electronic
devices consists of entering weight and height in the respective fields, then clicking the appropriate button to
perform the BMI calculation. Weight unit might be in pounds or kilograms and the height unit might be
in inches, feet and inches, or centimeters, depending on the calculator.
A BMI calculator for men is no different
from that used to calculate BMI for women, but a BMI calculator for children is a little different inasmuch as
there is a field for entering age in addition to the fields for the weight and height. The
age field takes into account the fact that children are still growing and that their growth rate
varies with age. By factoring in age, the
for a child is then compared with that of other children of the same age, and is expressed as
a percentile, which is a more precise weight-category indicator. For example, a child
with a BMI calculation in the 50 percentile means that 50% of children of the same age weigh
more and 50% of children of that same age weigh less than the child whose BMI was
calculated. On the other hand, a child with a calculated BMI in the 95 percentile weighs more than
95% of children of the same age and weighs less than only 5% of children of the same age.
Calculating BMI is a simple process which fosters patient engagement in
This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice or a substitute for medical
consultation with a qualified professional. If you are seeking legal advice or are unsure about your medical
condition you should consult an attorney and/or physician.
Victor E Battles, M.D. is a board-certified internist with more than 30 years of patient contact. He has served on
hospital quality assurance committees and in October 1986 was certified by the American board of quality assurance
and utilization review. He has also been a principal investigator in several clinical research trials.
by Victor E. Battles, M.D. - October 17,
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Source: Proactive Health Outlet