Body mass index helps identify obesity

By D.J. Ford

November 14, 2007

Many individuals fail to go to doctors to perform routine physicals and check on their health. I went to the University of Florida Student Health Care Center and met Dr. Ronald Berry, who informed me of the body mass index.

"You can do it home, or there are calculators on the web where you put in your height and weight and the program will do it for you," he said.

First, find your weight, in pounds, then divide that number by the square of your height, in inches. The final step is to take that number and multiply by 703. This gives you the BMI.

A BMI under 18.5 is considered underweight, while over 25 is considered overweight. Over 30 is considered obese, and over 40 is considered morbidly obese.

So a man 72 inches tall and 240 pounds has a BMI of 32.5, and is considered obese.

There are some flaws with this system, however.

"BMI doesn't take into account those who are naturally smaller, or perhaps the person who has more bone or muscle mass than most. A six-foot, 200-pound athlete is considered obese by BMI standards, but really isn't," Berry said.

"The key is to know your body, so you'll know when you're in the proper weight range."