Body mass index (BMI) calculator – Are you overweight?

BMI Calc.:

Your Weight:
Your Height:

N.B. For an explanation of Body Mass Index and a discussion about its limitations and alternative weight measurement calculations see the section below the action plans. If you are here to ask “am I overweight?”, please take your height and weight measurements and use the calculator or chart before asking in the comments below – thanks!

BMI Action Plans:

Below 18.5 Underweight

If your BMI is less that 18.5 it is a strong indicator that you are underweight. To put on weight the only healthy method is to increase calorie intake and exercise more. A low body weight indicated a lack of healthy muscle tissue. Ensure that your diet is well balanced and consider increase protein intake to aid muscle growth.

Start exercising a few times a week with a combination of cardio workouts (running, swimming, sports), bodyweight circuit training workouts and fitness classes.

You need to eat more, workout more and build some muscle. See also the articles about protein and weight training.

18.5 – 24.9 Normal

A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 indicated that you are at a healthy weight. Well done, you are doing just fine. However, you may not be healthy, look to improve your diet and take regular exercise.

A healthy body weight is not always a fit and healthy body. If you are not fit and consuming too few calories then you may still be lacking in some essential nutrition as well as setting yourself up for longer term problems due to inactivity.

25.0 – 29.9 Overweight

A BMI of 25 to 29.9 suggests that you are overweight and are probably developing some excess fat. Unless you have built up a lot of muscle mass in recent years then there is a very good change that you need change your diet and exercise more to start burning off excess fat.

To lose weight you need to combine healthy diet and regular fitness activities. You do not need to join a gym although it can help. We have many suggestions for home fitness workouts and also advice on how to eat healthy. You may also want to consider following a weight loss plan. If you are looking for an effective diet solution then take a look at our Low GI Diet eBook.

30.0 + Obese

A BMI of over 30 indicates that you are obese. You really have to make some changes. You need to take urgent action to start losing fat and improving your fitness. Total lifestyle change is required. If you have not exercised for a long time then start easy with our walking for fitness plan and then move on to more intensive forms of fitness training.

Also read up on the basics of a healthy diet and start making changes to your diet to improve quality and reduce quantity. Also consider a low GI diet which will help you to control blood sugars and lose weight – Low GI Diet eBook.

Limitations of BMI

What does it mean to be overweight? Can we really calculate how overweight a person is? There are a few methods to determine whether or not you are overweight and while none are perfect they do all provide a good indication of whether or not you are healthy.

Body Mass Index tool is still the most commonly used calculation because it is so easy to measure – you just need to know your height and weight.

However, BMI does not take into consideration muscle:fat ratios, so male athletes can sometimes appear overweight on the scale while women with very little muscle mass may appear a “normal” weight when they are actually carrying too much fat.

For example, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s BMI is around 35 – based on a height of 178 cm and mass of 113 kg. He is certainly not obese or overweight.

Health professionals also use waist measurement, including waist-to-hip ratio, to determine if a person is carrying too much fat.

However, for simplicity we shall provide you with a body mass index calculator (just below this explanation).

We have also added a chart to provide a better visualization of obesity levels. At the end of the article there are also note on genetic / racial variations that should be considered.

What Is Body Mass Index (BMI)?

Body mass index (BMI) is a statistical measure of the weight of a person scaled according to height. It is a guide to how overweight or underweight a person is, but it should not be used in isolation to diagnose a weight problem.

While it can give a good answer to your question “Am I Overweight?“, it cannot provide a totally accurate answer is some circumstances – read below to learn more.

Many bodybuilders and athletes would be considered overweight according to the BMI calculation, as BMI does not take into account muscle mass, just total mass. As muscle is denser that fat, very muscular people can show a high BMI even though they are of a healthy weight.

It is generally considered that waist circumference is a better measure of how overweight a person is.

So to be healthy you really need to try to lose your excess fat and get a flatter stomach, or at least get your waist below 36 inches. However, BMI is still a good indication of whether or not you are overweight.

BMI Chart

The chart below provides a visual guide to BMI. Draw a line from your weight (in pounds at the top or kilos at the bottom) to your height (meters on the left or feet/inches on the right) and where the lines cross is your BMI. If you are in the yellow zone you are a healthy weight.

BMI (Body Mass Index) chart

Please see below for some International variations on this scale and updated sub-categories from the World Health Organization.

World Health Organization New BMI Classification

The WHO have now provided more detailed classifications for BMI.

The International Classification of adult underweight, overweight and obesity according to BMI

Classification BMI(kg/m2)
Principal cut-off points Additional cut-off points
Underweight <18.50 <18.50
     Severe thinness <16.00 <16.00
     Moderate thinness 16.00 – 16.99 16.00 – 16.99
     Mild thinness 17.00 – 18.49 17.00 – 18.49
Normal range 18.50 – 24.99 18.50 – 22.99
23.00 – 24.99
Overweight ≥25.00 ≥25.00
     Pre-obese 25.00 – 29.99 25.00 – 27.49
27.50 – 29.99
     Obese ≥30.00 ≥30.00
          Obese class I 30.00 – 34.99 30.00 – 32.49
32.50 – 34.99
          Obese class II 35.00 – 39.99 35.00 – 37.49
37.50 – 39.99
          Obese class III ≥40.00 ≥40.00

Source: Adapted from WHO, 1995, WHO, 2000 and WHO 2004.

Class 3 Obese is more commonly known as morbidly obese. When someone reaches a BMI of over 40 it becomes very likely that they will develop chronic health conditions such as Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease, plus also suffer from reduced mobility and a much poorer quality of life.

Many Class 3 individuals become house bound and suffer from depression which makes changes lifestyle and dietary habits next to impossible.

International BMI Variations

Many countries have changed the scale to suit the demographics of their people. All units in kg/m2.

Japan and Hong Kong

Japan and Hong Kong have lowered the thresholds for being overweight and obese as follows:

  • Normal: 18.5 to 22.9 
  • Overweight: 23.0 to 24.9 
  • Obese 25.0: above 


Singapore has added an additional category to classify the very underweight – Emaciation. They also make a BMI of over 40 officially morbidly obese;

  • Emaciation: 14.9 or less
  • Underweight: 15 to 18.4
  • Normal: 18.5 to 22.9
  • Overweight: 23 to 27.5
  • Obese: 27.6 to 40
  • Morbidly Obese: greater than 40

References and Further Resources on BMI

  • BMI classification – World Health Organisation.
  • “Big fat beat up” by Lousie Staley. IPA Review, Institute of Public Affairs (pdf file).
  • “Adjusting athletes’ body mass index to better reflect adiposity in epidemiological research.” by Nevill AM, Winter EM, Ingham S, Watts A, Metsios GS, Stewart AD. Published in Journal of Sports Science. 2010;28(9):1009-16. Abstract.
  • Know Your Risks – Singapore Health Promotion Board.
  • “The paradox of low body mass index and high body fat percentage among Chinese, Malays and Indians in Singapore” by Deurenberg-Yap M, Schmidt G, van Staveren WA, Deurenberg P. Published in Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2000 Aug;24(8):1011-7. Abstract.
  • “Overweight Japanese with body mass indexes of 23.0-24.9 have higher risks for obesity-associated disorders: a comparison of Japanese and Mongolians.” by Shiwaku K, Anuurad E, Enkhmaa B, Nogi A, Kitajima K, Shimono K, Yamane Y, Oyunsuren T.. Published in Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2004 Jan;28(1):152-8. Abstract.

213 Comments on “Body mass index (BMI) calculator – Are you overweight?”

  1. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Norman, your BMI is 28.7, which means you may be a little “overweight” and not “obese”. And if you have higher muscle mass than average this is less of a problem.

    It sounds like you are keeping yourself pretty active and that is by far the most important factor. Keep walking and exercising. Don’t worry about BMI, it is only a guide if your medical was good, why worry?

  2. Elizabeth says:

    I am concerned about my step son that recently moved in with us. He is 16 years old and is 5 feet 8 inches tall. He weighs 221 pounds currently. All he wants to do is eat if he is bored. He isn’t very active at all. He recently checked his blood pressure at one of the machines in a Kroger store. It said everything was in the red which isn’t good and has high blood pressure. Is there anything I can do to help him without hurting his feelings. Thanks for any advice I would really appreciate it. We live in the US if that helps more.

  3. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Elizabeth, this is always a tricky issue. Sounds like he could be an emotional eater and maybe eating is a way to try to forget about the recent family changes that he is experiencing. The best way to support him is probably to ensure that there is always a healthy meal ready for breakfast and dinner and assuming he is still at school, send him off with a healthy packed lunch. Encouraging him to take up some activities will help, maybe something your husband can do. An interest in sport, martial arts, cycling, weight lifting etc. can prompt a young person to want to get fit. The problem is that many teenage boys do go through a phase of being uninterested in such things. Family walks at the weekend could be a good idea to help bond and be active at the same time.

  4. Hi, Its Aadi. i’m 23 yr old my height is 6″2′ and my weight is 55 kg. i just want to gain perfect weight, how can i… please help me :(

  5. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Aadi, you need to start eating and lifting. You are underweight by quite a margin.

  6. Yvette Credgeur says:

    I weigh 2 40 lbs. I have smoked for 30 years and I am 48yeqrs old. I help

  7. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Yvette, first you must stop smoking. Seek professional help to quit if you need to. This is the most important change you must make, before you start trying to lose weight.

  8. I am 15 ur old Indian. My height is 152 cm n I weigh 47.9 KGS. I am very good in studies and I love reading books and I am an introvert. I don’t play nor exercise. My intake of food is normal. Yet my mom always tells me to lose weight…can u suggest what to do

  9. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Lena,

    Your BMI is healthy at 20.7. You do not need to lose weight. Maybe do some exercise to keep fit and healthy. This will help to tone your muscles a little an make you look more lively and healthier. Keep reading your books!

  10. Hello,
    My name is Ngozi, I weight 92kg, 5ft 11inch. I have been on good body workout for sometime before gaining this tremendous weight. Right now, I work my hours than I used to in my office and this made it so difficult for me to workout. Please what should I do. I really need your advice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Thank you

  11. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Ngozi, you need to take a look at your diet and try to get more active. What are you doing differently now?

  12. Miranda coop says:

    Hi. i am 22 and 242 lbs at 5’2 what can i do, nothing I’ve done in the past will work, the weight just won’t come off and as i am the mom of a toddler i want to be healthy for him.

  13. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Miranda, you need to get active and start eating a healthier diet. One option is to follow the Low GI Diet. It will mean that you stop eating bread, cakes, cookies, rice, pasta and pastries, along with some other foods. If you like I can send you a copy for free – but only if you promise to read it and follow the dietary advice.

  14. Alexander says:

    Hello my name is Alexander. I’m 13 almost turning 14 my BMI is 25.2 I weight 147 pounds I am 5’4 am I overweight for my age??

  15. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Alexander, your weight is OK. Focus on sports and exercise – get active. Your body is going to be growing a lot over the next few years and if you stay active your will grow stronger.

  16. Barbara McGurk says:

    I am a female aged 64 years and am 5 feet 3 inches and weigh 67.1 kg. I have been on a diet of 1200 calories a day and have been going to the gym 4/5 times a week doing cardio and body weight exercises for an hour each session. I have lost 7kg in the last 12 weeks but my weight loss is so slow and my bmi is still too high. How can I speed the loss up?

  17. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Barbara, 7kg in 12 weeks is good progress. Your current BMI is 26.2, so you really are not far of a target for being a healthy weight – you are ding great. Make sure your diet is health, with plenty of greens and protein to keep your muscles and bones strong. If you carry on losing weight at your current rate you will have a BMI of 25 in about 5-6 weeks time. Stick to your plan and make sure that you do not lose too much too soon.

  18. Hi, I’m 39, 5ft 8 and 130kg, have two young children and am desperate to lose weight and live healthy and teach them how to eat. So tired of diets not working, I lose some then put it on again! Miss the firm, slimmer me pre-baby (6 yrs ago) and it’s just getting worse!

  19. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Ladyl, you need to get active and start being super strict with your own diet. Your kids are probably pretty active and growing, so they do not actually need a huge amount of guidance – just avoid junk food, sweets, soft drinks etc. It is your diet you need to concentrate on – ditch all the junk, eat 3 meals a day, avoid all snacks, and get active – exercise daily.

  20. Hi
    I’m sixteen and weigh a 100 Kgs and am 5 ft and 9 inches tall. I’m not worried about the way I look, its just that my family has a long history of Heart disease and Diabetes. Any suggestions on how i should lose weight?

  21. Hi. im 5ft3 and weigh 89kg how can i lose weight? i have tried various diets but nothing seems to work. please help

  22. I’m a 13 year old boy, 5 foot 3 inches and I weigh 147 pounds. I used to weigh 167 before, but I cut down on what I eat. What else should I do? Any workouts I can do at home that are effective but not too time consuming?

  23. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Nikki, you need to do some exercise and eat less. What diets did you try? How long did you try them for? Did you follow the rules exactly?

  24. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Mina, exercise and healthy eating.

  25. Hello. I M morbidly obese when I saw the chart. I am 130kg and 5’7″ and I am 27 years of age. I have a daughter of 3 years . I was 102 kg while I got pregnant and on delivery date I was 120 kg that was on 2012 June. I am obese since childhood. I eat Vegan food than non veg. I am a south Indian. Could you please give me an idea how to loose my weight slowly .

    Thank you


  26. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Archana. You need to eat less. I bet you eat a lot of rice? Stop eating rice – completely. Eat vegetables, fruits, nuts, tofu etc. but no more rice. Check portion size too – use a small plate or bowl.

  27. maddy hyde says:

    Hi my boyfriend weighs about 52 kilograms and hes 181 cm tall. He eats so much and can’t gain weight he eats about 6 meals a day. I’m 91 kilograms and 161 cm tall and i have trouble losing weight because of polycystic ovary syndrome. What do you recommend we do?

  28. MotleyHealth says:

    Maddy, your boyfriend needs to see a doctor. He is very underweight and this could cause serious health problems. The solution is to eat more. You need to look at your own diet and activity and try to lose weight. Some info on polycystic ovary syndrome.

  29. Erwin Henze says:

    I’m 56 years old and have to lose weight. I’ve been trying for 3 years and just can’t keep even 5 lbs off.

  30. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Erwin, it all comes down to consistent healthy eating and exercise!

  31. Thanks a lot. I thought I was overweight because my parents keep saying it just because my breast is getting bigger but in all I know am not . so thanks :)

  32. Rachael armstrong says:

    Went to dr today according to my wt I am pre-obese, I am not sure if that is so. I exercise every day for no less than an hour,usually more waist size is 32. I’m wondering if I need to lose some wt, also I just had complete knee replacement, both are done now, fx hip so it is replaced too. Will this make my wt go up, I am not sure if the wt. of replacement is more than bone. My wt. is 176 more since surgery and 26.0 BMI. I wear a size 10 if that matters. Thanks for being there to help

  33. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Rachael, if you are exercising daily, are fit and eating healthy, you are OK. A BMI of 26 is only just over the top end of “healthy” (BMI 20 to 25). Sounds like you are doing well considering your knee and hip ops. I think only your doctor (knee / hip replacement) can tell you if the replacement parts weigh more than the natural parts.

    Pre-obese is defined as anything between 25 and 30. So somebody who is fit, exercises daily, eats health and has a BMI of 25.01 will be “pre obese” according to their doctor. Sometimes doctors need to look beyond the text book calculation and give some good advice to the individual!

  34. I’m currently 33.1 on the bmi but I have around 40% fat and 60% muscle and I’m not obese or overweight but I could lose a little, remember muscle always weigh more then fat and I want to at least be around 95 KGS hopefully. I go to the gym everyday for a few hours a day doing weights and cardio so in a few months I should be close to that percentage

  35. Adrian Sutcliff says:

    Hi,im a 13 year old female who is 5’3 and 142 pounds . Am i over weight?

  36. MotleyHealth says:

    Not really Adrian. Use the calculator and see.

  37. How much overweight am l?

  38. What’s my bmi

  39. How much calories

  40. MotleyHealth says:

    Sorry Lorna, what do you mean?

  41. MotleyHealth says:

    Jamie, just use the calculator above, or the chart.

  42. Phillip Martin says:

    I’m trying to lose weight by keeping up with my calorie intake, and how many I burn everyday

  43. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi David, are you very muscular? Could be visceral fat, or intramuscular fat. What is your waist size? BMI does have its flaws.

  44. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Phillip, take a look at the weight loss section or search – we have some guides on how many calories you burn with different exercises.

  45. Doug Ramshaw says:

    I’m 56 yr old my body mass is 18.5 percent my weight is 191 and height is 6 ft and fit..yet your chart says i am overweight with a body mass of over does that work?

  46. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Doug, read the section on the limitations of bmi. Your score is 25.5, which is only just outside the health weight range, so if you’re fit and strong, don’t worry about it, you’re OK!

  47. Hi I am eating about 500 cals a and exercising 90 min a day. My BMI is 31.02 Can I reach a healthy weight in 4 weeks?

  48. cheryl bennett says:

    I weighed myself and I weigh 120 but my bmi said 5.4 that’s crazy I am solid muscle because I walk 10 miles a day at work

  49. MotleyHealth says:

    Cheryl, you must have miscalculated. If you weigh 120 pounds, you would have to be over 10 feet tall to have a BMI of 5.4.

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