Lifestyle Lessons from Masters Athletes

Body Composition: Body Mass Index

by Elizabeth Thornberry

One of the accepted approaches to weight assessment is a technique developed by the National Center for Health Statistics called body mass index (BMI). To find your BMI, follow these steps:

Step 1. Divide your weight in pounds (without shoes or clothing) by 2.2. This will give you your weight in kilograms. Answer to Step 1 is ___________.

Step 2. Divide your height in inches (without shoes) by 39.4 and then square the result. This will convert your height to meters squared. Answer to Step 2 is ___________.

Step 3. Divide your weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared (answer to Step 1 divided by answer to Step 2). This is your BMI.

In general, a BMI range of 20 to 24 is considered normal. The desirable range for females is 21 to 23; for males, it is 22 to 24. BMI values above 27.8 for men and 27.3 for women have been associated with increased health problems, including high blood pressure and diabetes. The American Dietetic Association has classified people having BMIs greater than 30 as obese and those having BMIs greater than 40 as morbidly obese and in need of prompt medical attention.

To find your BMI the easy way, go to

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