BMI Index, The complete Body Mass Index Chart and Diagram

What do you know about body mass index? Are you familiar with your BMI? Do you know how your body mass index can help to predict your overall health?

If you’re interested in learning more about body mass index, you’ve come to the right place. See, many people consider the way they look in a swimsuit to decide if they’re a healthy weight. They may concentrate on the numbers they see when they step on the scale.

They’ve got it wrong!

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • Why keeping track of your body mass index is so important.
  • How often you should check your body mass index.
  • Tips and tricks to achieve your ideal BMI

Are you ready to get your body mass index under control? Let’s get started! Here’s the complete body mass index chart and diagram, and your guide to finding the ideal weight.

What’s BMI, Anyway?

If you’re not familiar with body mass index, that’s okay! Many people aren’t. In fact, body mass index is a term many of us haven’t heard since we were children.

See, when you’re a child, your pediatrician would take your weight and your height, then plot those measurements on a chart. That chart compared your height and your weight against the measurements of other children.

The place where your measurements fell on the graph told your doctor a percentage. That percentage helped your doctor determine whether you were growing appropriately. We’ll talk more about that in just a bit.

Now that you’re an adult, it’s not likely that your doctor verbally shares your BMI with you. It’s probably indicated on a printout you receive at the completion of each physician’s appointment. But most people don’t pay too much attention to that printout.

That’s alright! There’s no need to wait for your next doctor’s appointment to figure out your body mass index. You can do it right at home.

Calculating your BMI is very simple. All you’ll need is your height in meters, your weight in kilograms and a calculator!

Once you’ve gotten your measurements, simply take your weight in kilograms and divide it by your height in meters. Then, divide that number by your height in meters again. The answer you get is your body mass index!

What Your Body Mass Index Means 

Your body mass index falls somewhere on a scale. If it’s less than 18.5, you’re underweight. Between 18.5 and 24.9? You’re in a healthy range. If your BMI is between 25 and 29.9, you’re overweight. And if it’s over 30 you’re considered obese.

For kids it’s a little different. As we mentioned, pediatricians chart kids’ height and weight on a graph and compare that point to kids similar in age. That’s measured in terms of a percentile.

Kids have a lot of flexibility with their BMI. If a child is in the 85th percentile or higher, he’s considered overweight. If he falls below the 5th percentile, he’s underweight. Everything between the 5th and the 85th is considered healthy.

Knowing your body mass index, whether you’re a kid or an adult, can tell you a lot about your health. If your BMI is in a healthy range, you’ll be less likely to be diagnosed with:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Depression
  • Some cancers
  • Malnutrition
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure

As you probably know, being overweight or obese can lead to some serious health complications. It naturally follows that staying in a healthy range for BMI decreases your risk of these diseases.

Health complications aren’t exclusive to adults. Whether you’re 5 or 55, a BMI that’s too high or too low can cause the same diseases, so it’s important to stay informed of your body mass index!

How Often Should I Check My BMI? 

You may like to weigh every day. Or, you may be the type who likes to check the scale once per week. No matter your type, you don’t necessarily have to check your BMI every single time you weigh.

Let’s imagine that you’re a woman, five foot seven inches and 170 pounds. You have a BMI of 26.6, which is considered overweight. Because you’re an adult, you’re not likely to grow much more, right? So all you’ll have to do is calculate your ideal weight to set a goal for your ideal BMI.

For a woman of that height to have a healthy BMI, she needs to weigh 159 pounds. She’s not growing taller, so that number won’t change. Therefore, her weight loss goal should be somewhere in the ballpark of 11 pounds.

Having said that, a weight loss goal of 11 pounds only brings her to the very upper limit of ideal BMI. Consult with a doctor, and together you can decide the best weight loss goals for your health needs.

It’s easy to determine your goal weight. Simply play around with numbers, entering different figures into an online BMI calculator. Find the weight that puts you in a healthy range, and set your weight loss goal accordingly.

In summary, you don’t have to check your BMI very frequently at all. As an adult, you have one measurement that won’t change: your height. Determining a weight that will put you in the ideal range for body mass index is the variable you’ll need to set to get within a healthy range for BMI.

Body Mass Index for Special Populations 

We’d be remiss not to mention special populations in this guide to body mass index. There are several groups of people who should talk to a doctor regarding their ideal weight, rather than rely solely on a BMI chart.

Pregnant women are the first of these groups. Pregnant women have a special set of considerations, indeed! If you’re pregnant, most doctors and midwives will tell you to simply ignore your body mass index entirely. It’s not healthy for your baby.

If you’re pregnant and overweight, your doctor can help you develop a nutrition and exercise plan that’s appropriate to your lifestyle. Don’t attempt to diet on your own – that can be harmful to your baby!

Generally speaking, women who are in a healthy range for BMI prior to conception are more likely to have a healthy pregnancy. Babies are more likely to be full term, and with fewer instances of health complications for both mother and child during pregnancy.

Older adults should also speak to a doctor about body mass index. As you age, your body changes. In many cases, it’s entirely healthy for senior adults to have a body mass index that’s higher than 25. Once again, we recommend that you speak with your doctor or caregiver to determine if this is the case.

Finally, children’s BMI should not be calculated or charted in the same way as an adult’s. Children’s height and weight must be plotted on a percentile graph to ensure they’re growing in a healthy way for their gender and age.

Reaching Your Ideal BMI 

Are you trying to achieve your ideal body mass index? Well, usually that just requires that you get adequate exercise and follow a healthful diet full of nutritious foods. But if you need a little extra help, here are a few tips that can help you.

Don’t Rely on Diet Pills

Diet pills can offer a quick fix. If you’re looking to lose a few pounds before a big event like a wedding or anniversary, they can be helpful. However, there are very few diet pills that actually work in the long term. They can also lead to a sense of reliance. For instance, “I took my diet pill this morning, so I can go ahead and eat these cookies!”

If you do decide that you’d like to try diet pills, talk to your doctor. Together you can decide whether over the counter pills are safe for you. There also may be prescription medications that are a good option for you.

Hire a Personal Trainer

If you’ve been exercising for a while but have stopped seeing results, consider hiring a personal trainer. Many athletic clubs offer free consultations with trainers, and these consults are a great resource. A personal trainer can tell you how to break through your plateau. He or she will also tell you how to exercise properly to lose weight safely.

Make One Small Change … Then Another

“Diets” don’t work. Lifestyle changes do. However, changing your entire lifestyle all at once is overwhelming and will all but doom you to failure.

Set yourself up for success by making just one small change at a time. First, cut out sodas. Then, learn to drink your coffee black. Then, begin to take a walk after supper each night. These are just examples, of course, but they’re examples of small steps you can take to create a large change.

Eat Frequently

It sounds counterproductive, but a great way to reach your ideal BMI is to eat frequent meals throughout the day. Studies have show that people who eat five smaller “meals” throughout the day have a faster metabolism than those who eat three large ones.

It may help you, too, to train yourself to cut out evening snacking. Give yourself a “carb curfew” or even a food curfew. For instance, don’t eat past 8 pm.


Knowing and tracking your body mass index is one of the most important steps you can take to achieve optimal health. A healthy BMI means less instance of serious health conditions, and it also means you’ll feel and look great!

Keep tabs on your BMI and use the body mass index chart to set your goal weight. Then, make small and simple lifestyle changes. You’ll discover that you’ve reached your ideal body mass index in no time at all!

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