How is the body mass index (BMI) (Quetelet index) calculated?

Updated: Jun 09, 2021
  • Author: Osama Hamdy, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP  more...
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The body mass index (BMI), also known as the Quetelet index, is used far more commonly than body fat percentage to define obesity. In general, BMI correlates closely with the degree of body fat in most settings; however, this correlation is weaker at low BMIs.

An individual’s BMI is calculated as weight/height2, with weight being in kilograms and height being in meters (otherwise, the equation is weight in pounds ´ 0.703/height in inches2). Online BMI calculators are available.

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