Body mass index (better known as BMI) is a measurement – based on a person’s height and weight – used to indicate if a person is underweight, overweight or obese. Knowing your BMI is an easy and quick way to target a healthy weight.  

Here’s how to calculate your BMI: 

Why is your BMI important?

A high BMI may be an indicator of high body fat, which can increase your risk of developing serious conditions. These conditions include type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure (hypertension), stroke, osteoarthritis, cancer and more. Additionally, being underweight may be an indication of weak bones (osteoporosis), low iron (anemia), stress, or other serious health conditions.[iii]  The chart below can help you understand how your BMI relates to your health status.

Weight Management Tips

Lowering or maintaining your BMI can be done by managing your weight through eating healthy and exercise. This may sound challenging but a few simple steps can go a long way. You can improve your diet by eating more vegetables and fruits with your meals or as snacks, planning your meals in advance, cooking at home instead of eating out, reducing excess sugar, refined carbohydrates (eg white bread, pasta etc) and sodium, and drinking more water.[i] Sugared beverages including carbonated beverages and most juices are common culprits.  In addition, you should have 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of intense exercise per week to maintain a healthy weight. Examples of moderate and intense exercises are included in the chart below. [ii] Talk to your doctor before making serious changes to your diet or exercise routines. 

[i] National Institute of Health. [Brochure]. Author. Retrieved September 14, 2018, from https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/wecan/downloads/tip_choices.pdf

[ii] Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015, May 15). Physical Activity for a Healthy Weight. Retrieved September 14, 2018, from https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/physical_activity/index.html

[i] Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017, August 29). About Adult BMI. Retrieved September 14, 2018, from https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/adult_bmi/index.html

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] National Health Service. (2017, May 31). Underweight Adults. Retrieved September 20, 2018, from https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-weight/advice-for-underweight-adults/



Dr. Larry Wu

About Dr. Larry Wu

Larry Wu, MD is a regional medical director for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and provides consultative services for employee health solutions, prevention, chronic disease, care management, medical expense and utilization management. He is a family physician with over 20 years in clinical practice, has served as clinic director in the Indian Health Service, Kaiser Permanente and Duke Family Medicine and currently maintains a part-time clinical practice.