Knowing What Your Weight Means
It’s important to be at a healthy weight. Body Mass Index—or BMI—and waist size are two numbers that can help you decide if your weight is healthy, or if you need to make some changes. This tip sheet below explains how to find both and what they mean.
Body Mass Index (BMI)
BMI is a measure of how much you weigh compared to how tall you are. Adults can use the chart below to check their BMI. However, children’s BMIs are also based on their age and gender.
For Adults — Find Your BMI in the Chart on the Reverse Side
- See an example of someone who has a BMI of 24 on the chart.
- Find your height on the left side of the table.
- Follow that row across until you come to your weight. If your weight is between two numbers, choose the smaller number.
- Then follow that column straight down to find your BMI.
Write your BMI here: ________________
What does your Body Mass Index mean?
- BMI of 19 to 24 means you are a healthy weight.
Make it your goal to stay at that way.
- BMI of 25 to 29 means you are overweight.
Avoid gaining more weight. You may need to lose weight. Check with your doctor.
- BMI of 30 or higher means you are obese.
You probably need to lose weight. Lose weight slowly—about 1 to 2 pounds a week. Talk to your doctor about the best ways to lose weight.
Waist measurement is another way to see if you are at a healthy weight. Your waist measurement is a sign of how much fat you have around your waist. The more “belly fat” you have, the higher your risk for getting heart disease, type 2 diabetes (high blood sugar), or other illnesses.
How to Measure Your Waist
- Place a tape measure around your bare belly, just above your hip bones.
- Be sure the tape is snug, but does not push in your skin.
- Be sure the tape is level all the way around you.
- Breathe out normally and measure your waist.
Write your waist measurement here: ________________
What Does Your Waist Measurement Mean?
- For men, a waist measurement bigger than 40 inches means a higher risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes (high blood sugar), or other illnesses.
- For women, a waist measurement bigger than 35 inches means a higher risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes (high blood sugar), or other illnesses.