The ABCs of BMI

By Dr. Rick Tague

The ABCs of BMI

BMI, aka Body Mass Index, is a term we all should be familiar with by now.  It’s a number your doctor, insurance companies and even the government uses as a guideline for classifying your health.  Although accurate, BMI may overstate or understate your actual body fat number.  Why?  Because BMI doesn’t distinguish between muscle mass and body fat and since muscle weighs more than fat, a muscular individual may have a high BMI without the complications to their health.  At The Center For Nutrition, we take many factors into consideration when evaluating your health status.  A much more accurate measure for overweight individuals is to evaluate and monitor their Percent Body Fat.  With our advanced Body Composition Analysis we can pinpoint your excess body fat amounts along with your Lean Body Mass to give us a clearer picture of your true body make up.

BMI is a height and weight ratio, it doesn’t consider your age, ethnicity, sex or muscle mass…all factors to consider when evaluating your overall health.  That said, it is fairly reliable for population assessment of overweight and obesity.  It is an inexpensive and easy to perform method of screening weight that may lead to health problems.

Formula for Calculating your BMI:  Weight in pounds, divided by height in inches, divide again by height in inches, then multiply by 703.  Or, visit the CFN website at and use our BMI calculator!

What does it all mean?

BMI                              Weight Status

Below 18.5                  Underweight
18.5-24.9                        Normal
25.0-29.9                     Overweight
30.0-Above                      Obese

Remember, BMI is just one factor related to risk for disease.  Two other factors should be considered when evaluating risk:

1.  Waist circumference (measures abdominal fat which is a risk factor for obesity-related diseases).  Measure at the belly button, around with a tape measure.

Men should measure < 40 inches

Women < 35

If of Asian heritage:  Men < 38; Women <33

2.  Other risk factors-including high blood pressure, hyperlipidemia, genetic history, physical inactivity to name a few.

Knowing your BMI is like knowing your blood pressure.   It helps you maintain a healthy lifestyle by monitoring what you can and making important changes to facilitate long term health.  At The Center For Nutrition, we not only use your BMI, but all available tools to assess your risk factors and to develop a specific plan to get you to optimal health.   If you don’t know your BMI, Percent Body Fat or whether you should consider a healthier lifestyle, call us at 1-877-273-8446 and we’ll set you up for a FREE consultation to review this information with you.   It’s as easy as ABC!

Rick Tague, M.D., M.P.H. & T.M. is a nutrition & weight loss specialist and the Founder & Medical Director of the Center for Nutrition and Preventive Medicine, P.A.

Dr. Tague is an Alpha Omega Alpha honors graduate of Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans. He also holds a Masters Degree in Public Health from Tulane. Dr. Tague is board certified by the American Board of Obesity Medicine and the American Board of Family Medicine. His medical practice has focused on optimum health, nutrition, and weight loss since 1996.

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