How to Calculate BMI Using a BMI Calculator, BMI Scale, or BMI Chart

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Enough muscle can put a lean person's BMI in the "obese" range.
Enough muscle can put a lean person's BMI in the "obese" range. (Image: Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

You can easily calculate your body mass index using an online BMI calculator or chart, or a BMI bathroom scale. BMI is a number commonly used as an indication of body fat based on comparing weight to height. BMI is limited in its application. If you have lots of muscle, your BMI will be high and you may rate as "overweight" or "obese" -- even if you are quite lean. If you have very little muscle, but enough flab to keep you from having a low BMI, you may rate as "normal" instead of "underweight."

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Bathroom scale

Use a pencil to make a mark on the wall directly above your head. Measure from the floor to the mark on the wall with a tape measure. Use an accurate bathroom scale to find your weight.

Launch a Web browser and navigate to the online BMI calculator of your choice. Follow onscreen instructions to enter your height and weight in the text fields provided. Click on "Calculate" or the button provided for this purpose. Your BMI is displayed, along with your status as underweight, normal, overweight, or obese. Most calculators also display a "normal" weight range in pounds for your height.

Purchase a BMI scale at a local retail store or online. A BMI Scale is a bathroom-style scale with additional features. Most BMI Scales have an internal memory. Enter in your height and age. When you step on the scale your weight and BMI displays. Some BMI scales also measure body water and can calculate your body-fat percentage based on the water content it can detect.

Locate a BMI chart online or in a book. Locate your height and weight on the chart. Read across the chart to find your BMI. A BMI chart may also be called a BMI scale.

Tips & Warnings

  • A normal healthy BMI is defined as an index in the range of 18.5 to 24.9.

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