The BMI calculator is a valuable tool that measures whether you are overweight, underweight, or just right. Your weight alone is not enough to tell, as a tall, skinny man may easily weigh more than a short but rotund woman. The body mass index, or BMI, overcomes this problem by finding a ratio of your weight to your height and returning a single number. This number will fit into a category on the BMI range scale, which is defined as underweight, normal, overweight, and obese.
To work out your body mass index on your own and what the number means for you, you'll need to know:
- How to calculate BMI.
- What is normal BMI?
- What are the various BMI ranges are.
How to calculate BMI
First, let's cover the calculation:
- Divide your weight (kilograms) by height (meters).
- Divide the answer by your height again to get your BMI.
So the body mass index formula is as follows:
BMI = weight / height².
Our BMI calculator makes it a piece of cake to find your number. However, please remember that BMI is a rough estimation. The result can be somewhat misleading for well-muscled individuals (such as bodybuilders) or for those who have lost a significant amount of muscle (such as the elderly).
If you are unsure whether or not you fall within the "normal" range of muscle mass, please consider using one of our more specialized calculators. The body fat calculator can zero in on your body fat percentage.
There are five primary ranges within the BMI scale:
- Underweight = less than 18.5
- Normal weight = 18.5 - 24.9
- Overweight = 25 - 29.9
- Obesity = 30 - 35
- Severe obesity = 35 and more
The BMI Prime is a nifty modification to our own BMI calculator. It's a decimal number where 1.0 = the upper limit to the "normal BMI" range. It's a super easy way to see whether you're overweight. If your BMI Prime is more than 1, you have some weight to lose.
Using our body mass index calculator
At the top of our BMI calculator are fields to plug in height and weight. Plug in these values, and you'll instantly have your BMI, your BMI Prime (see above), and a little message telling you what range you fall into.
If you're overweight and want to know exactly how much you'll have to lose to get into the healthy range, you can do that too. Leave your height and weight in the boxes where they are, and type "0.9" into the BMI Prime box. Your weight and BMI will adjust themselves.
Tip: If your height box adjusts itself when you change other boxes, you'll need to lock it. Click the right-hand panel of the box and select the lock icon to hold that figure in place while you play with the values in other boxes. That is... unless you plan on growing taller!
If you want to know if your metabolism is on your side in your quest towards a healthy weight, try our basal metabolic rate calculator (or its variation with the Harris-Benedict formula). We often hear about things raising or lowering our metabolism (which one does skipping breakfast do again?), but we don't hear much about tracking those changes. That's what this calculator is for.
Your basal metabolic rate is the activity level of your body's metabolism when you wake up. This is the most reliable time to measure metabolism since the day hasn't had time to heat you!
Once you know how to calculate BMI, the following logical figure to know is your ideal weight. Use our excellent weight calculator to figure this out in a jiffy.