What is a Healthy BMI and Why it Matters?

  • Usman 

We all want to achieve a healthy weight. The simplest way to know if you are overweight is using a weight chart by age. We have all seen this chart in a doctor’s office or these days on many internet websites. 

This weight chart was the answer to the question: How do I determine my ideal weight? It is a simple chart that has height on one side and weight on the other side. You pick your height and it tells you your healthy weight. The detailed table at the end of this article is based on NIH Body Mass Index Table.

You can check your ideal weight by having a look at the table. There is also a variation which is weight chart by age but that is mostly for measuring children weight since birth to ensure that they are growing well and are not malnourished. 

But there is an even simpler way to know if you are overweight or not. It is called BMI chart. 

BMI-Scale

BMI Meaning

BMI stands for Body Mass Index. It is a reading that you get when your weight is compared to your height. It is a quick way to screen people for potential health issues based on their body weight and height. Though BMI calculation does not measure body fat percentage but studies have shown that a higher BMI is closely related to higher body fat measured by other methods. (1)

BMI is important because it quickly gives you an indication of a healthy body and whether the person is overweight which will give you an indication of whether he is prone to health issues, particularly cardiovascular disease. 

Numerous studies have established a link between a higher BMI and heart disease. (2) (3)

What is a Healthy BMI?

So, what is a normal BMI? According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the following BMI ranges have been identified: 

BMIWeight Classification
Less than 18.5Underweight
18.5 and higher but Less than 25Normal 
25 and higher but less than 30Overweight
30 and higher but less than 35Obesity (Class-I)
35 and higher but less than 40Obesity (Class-II)
40 and higherObesity (Class-III) – Extreme

So, if your BMI is 25 or higher, it will mean that you are not in the normal BMI range. Also, a BMI reading of less than 18.5 means that you are underweight. A healthy BMI range is between 18.5 to 25.

How do I Calculate my BMI?

The easiest way is to use the chart at the end of this post to find the reading corresponding to your healthy weight. There are also many BMI calculators for kids and adults online. You can easily use a BMI calculator

But if you want to know how exactly MBI is calculated, then you need to understand the BMI equation. The formula used for calculated BMI is weight in kg/height in square meters(kg/m2 ).

 If the weight is in pounds and height in inches, then the formula is weight in pounds/inch2 x 703. However, BMI calculator for adults is more or less accurate for ages 18 to 65. For children and older people, there are different BMI calculators. 

Is BMI Accurate?

But is BMI reliable? While BMI is an excellent predictor of obesity, it is still not perfect because of different reasons. 

We must be clear that BMI does not measure any health state of the body. Nor it is a confirmation test for presence or absence of a disease. In fact, there is a term called obesity paradox. There are actually people who live longer when their BMI remained on the higher side. (4)

Another study has found that nearly half of the people with higher BMI had a normal cardiovascular profile like normal BP, blood sugar level and cholesterol. On the other hand, about a third of the people had abnormal cardiovascular profile, though their BMI measurement was within healthy range. (5)

It is an excellent rough indicator of a healthy weight. Yet it is not accurate in case you are a muscle builder because your body weight will be more but it will be healthy type of muscle mass. BMI does not distinguish between muscle and fat. So, its reading is not reliable for athletes and muscle builders. 

It doesn’t measure the actual fats in the body. You might have a lower BMI but still your body fat percentage might be higher than normal. For example, it is known that Asians have higher fat percentage than whites and blacks. And whites have higher body fat percentage than blacks. BMI will not take this genetic difference into account. 

BMI also doesn’t consider waist circumference which is a good indicator of health risks. Belly fat is the worst kind of body fat and carries the highest risk. Therefore, waist to hip ratio is a better predictor of cardiovascular disease. 

It is also not an excellent tool for measuring obesity in kids and older people. The normal equation has to be modified for children and older people obesity. And of course BMI is not applicable for pregnant women.

But despite all these limitations, BMI is an excellent and easy screening tool as a measure of healthy weight for further tests and risks of heart disease. In fact, it is an excellent predictor of future obesity and overweight which are clearly linked with heart disease, diabetes, higher cholesterol levels and even asthma. 

BMI Table

Height(in feet and inches) & cm

Ideal WeightOverweightObeseSevere obesity
4ft 10″ (174.32 cm) (58”)91 to 115 lbs.
Less than 52.2 KG
119 to 138 lbs.
54 kg and more
143 to 186 lbs.
65 kg and more
191 to 258 lbs
86.6 kg and more.
4ft 11″(149.86 cm)(59″)94 to 119 lbs.
Less than 54 kg
124 to 143 lbs.
56 kg and more
148 to 193 lbs.
67 kg and more
198 to 267 lbs.
90 kg and more
5ft(152.4cm)
(60″)
97 to 123 lbs.
Less than 56 kg
128 to 148 lbs.
58 kg and more
153 to 199 lbs.
69 kg and more
204 to 276 lbs
93.5 kg and more.
5ft 1″(154.94 cm)(61″)100 to 127 lbs.
Less than 57.6 kg
132 to 153 lbs
60 kg and more.
158 to 206 lbs.
71.6 kg and more
211 to 285 lbs.
95.7 kg and more
5ft 2″(157.48 cm)(62″)104 to 131 lbs.
Less than 59.4 kg
136 to 158 lbs.
61.6 kg and more
164 to 213 lbs.
74.4 kg and more
218 to 295 lbs.
99 kg and more
5ft 3″(160.02)(63″)107 to 135 lbs.
Less than 61.2 kg 
141 to 163 lbs.
64 kg and more
169 to 220 lbs.
76.6 kg and more
225 to 304 lbs.
102 kg and more
5ft 4″162.56 cm(64″)110 to 140 lbs.
Less than 63.5
145 to 169 lbs
65.7 kg and more.
174 to 227 lbs.
79 kg and more
232 to 314 lbs.
105 kg and more
5ft 5″165.1 cm(65″)114 to 144 lbs.
Less than 65 kg
150 to 174 lbs.
68 kg and more
180 to 234 lbs.
81.6 kg and more
240 to 324 lbs.
109 kg and more
5ft 6″167.64 cm(66″)118 to 148 lbs.
Less than 67 kg
155 to 179 lbs.
70 kg and more
186 to 241 lbs.
84 kg and more
247 to 334 lbs.
112 kg and more
5ft 7″170.18 cm(67″)121 to 153 lbs.
Less than 69 kg
159 to 185 lbs.72 kg and more191 to 249 lbs.86.6 kg and more255 to 344 lbs115.6 kg and more.
5ft 8″172.72 cm(68″)125 to 158 lbs.
Less than 71.6 kg
164 to 190 lbs.
74 kg and more
197 to 256 lbs.
89 kg and more
262 to 354 lbs
119 kg and more.
5ft 9″(175.26 cm)(69″)128 to 162 lbs.
Less than 73.4 kg
169 to 196 lbs.
76.6 kg and more
203 to 263 lbs.
92 kg and more
270 to 365 lbs.
122.4 kg and more
5ft 10″(177.8 cm)(70″)132 to 167 lbs.
Less than 75.7 kg
174 to 202 lbs.
79 kg and more
209 to 271 lbs.
95 kg and more
278 to 376 lbs.
126 kg and more
5ft 11″(180.34 cm)(71″)136 to 172 lbs.
Less than 78 kg
179 to 208 lbs.
81.2 kg and more
215 to 279 lbs.
97.5 kg and more
286 to 386 lbs.
129.7 kg and more
6ft(182.88 cm)(72″)140 to 177 lbs.
Less than 80.3 kg
184 to 213 lbs.
83.5 kg and more
221 to 287 lbs.
100 kg and more
294 to 397 lbs.
133.4 kg and more
6ft 1″(185.42 cm)(73″)144 to 182 lbs.
Less than 82.6 kg
189 to 219 lbs.
85.7 kg and more
227 to 295 lbs.
103 kg and more
302 to 408 lbs.
137 kg and more
6ft 2″(187.96 cm)(74″)148 to 186 lbs.
Less than 84.4 kg
194 to 225 lbs.
88 kg and more
233 to 303 lbs.
105.7 kg and more
311 to 420 lbs.
141 kg and more
6ft 3″(19.5 cm)(75″)152 to 192 lbs.
Less than 87 kg
200 to 232lbs.
90.7 kg or more
240 to 311 lbs.
108.9 kg or more
319 to 431 lbs.
144.7 kg or more
6ft 4″(193.04 cm)(76″)156 to 197 lbs.
Less than 89.4 kg
205 to 238 lbs.
93 kg or more
246 to 320 lbs.
111.6 kg or more
328 to 443 lbs
148.8 kg or more.

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Muhammad Usman

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