Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

What is my body mass index (BMI)?


Your body mass index, or BMI for short, is one way for you and your healthcare team to assess how your weight affects your risk for disease. It's based on your weight without clothes and your height without shoes.

Here's how to figure out your BMI:
Your weight in pounds divided by
Your height in inches x your height in inches x 703 = Your BMI

You don't have to use this formula. Instead, you can use the table below.

Body Mass Index Chart

BMI: 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35

Height (inches)
Body Weight (pounds)
58 91 96 100 105 110 115 119 124 129 134 138 143 148 153 158 162 167
59 94 99 104 109 114 119 124 128 133 138 143 148 153 158 163 168 173
60 97 102 107 112 118 123 128 133 138 143 148 153 158 163 168 174 179
61 100 106 111 116 122 127 132 137 143 148 153 158 164 169 174 180 185
62 104 109 115 120 126 131 136 142 147 153 158 164 169 175 180 186 191
63 107 113 118 124 130 135 141 146 152 158 163 169 175 180 186 191 197
64 110 116 122 128 134 140 145 151 157 163 169 174 180 186 192 197 204
65 114 120 126 132 138 144 150 156 162 168 174 180 186 192 198 204 210
66 118 124 130 136 142 148 155 161 167 173 179 186 192 198 204 210 216
67 121 127 134 140 146 153 159 166 172 178 185 191 198 204 211 217 223
68 125 131 138 144 151 158 164 171 177 184 190 197 203 210 216 223 230
69 128 135 142 149 155 162 169 176 182 189 196 203 209 216 223 230 236
70 132 139 146 153 160 167 174 181 188 195 202 209 216 222 229 236 243
71 136 143 150 157 165 172 179 186 193 200 208 215 222 229 236 243 250
72 140 147 154 162 169 177 184 191 199 206 213 221 228 235 242 250 258
73 144 151 159 166 174 182 189 197 204 212 219 227 235 242 250 257 265
74 148 155 163 171 179 186 194 202 210 218 225 233 241 249 256 264 272
75 152 160 168 176 184 192 200 208 216 224 232 240 248 256 264 272 279
76 156 164 172 180 189 197 205 213 221 230 238 246 254 263 271 279 287


How Do I Know If My BMI Is Healthy?

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute:
  • A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered low risk for health problems. It indicates a healthy weight.
  • A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered moderate risk and overweight.
  • A BMI of 30 or greater is considered high risk and very overweight, or obese.
These standard guidelines may not apply to everyone. For instance, they do not apply to pregnant women or bodybuilders and may not be appropriate for the elderly. If you're not sure whether they apply to you, ask your doctor.

How Much Weight Do I Need to Lose?

If your BMI is 25 or higher, you can decrease your health risks by losing some weight. Losing even 5% to 10% can have a significant impact. The amount you need to lose to get your BMI below 25 depends on your height. Here are some examples:

If you are 5'5" and:

  • your BMI is 27, you need to lose 13 pounds to get your BMI below 25
  • your BMI is 30, you need to lose 31 pounds to get your BMI below 25

If you are 6' and:

  • your BMI is 27, you need to lose 16 pounds to get your BMI below 25
  • your BMI is 30, you need to lose 38 pounds to get your BMI below 25


More to Explore