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Body Mass Index
BMI is an estimate of body fat and a good measure of your risk for diseases that can occur with overweight and obesity. For adults, a healthy weight is defined as the appropriate body weight in relation to height. This ratio of weight to height is known as the body mass index (BMI). People who are overweight (BMI of 25–29.9) have too much body weight for their height. People who are obese (BMI of 30 or above) almost always have a large amount of body fat in relation to their height. The higher the BMI, the higher the risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, gallstones, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, and certain cancers (e.g., colon, breast, endometrial, and gallbladder).
Although BMI can be used for most men and women, it does have some limits:
It may overestimate body fat in athletes and others who have a muscular build.
It may underestimate body fat in older persons and others who have lost muscle.
BMI for children and teens, 2 to 20 years old, is determined by using a BMI table that compares their weight and height along with growth charts. The growth charts use a child's BMI, age, and gender to produce a BMI percentile. A child or teen who is between the 85th and 95th percentile on the growth chart is considered overweight. A child or teen who is at the 95th percentile or above is considered obese.
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