Should You Care About Your Body Mass Index?

By Korin Miller |

Find out what this number really says—and doesn’t say—about your body and health.

body mass index

You probably know how much you weigh, but whether the number on the scale means you’re healthy depends on many factors—and your height is just one of them.

Your body mass index (BMI) is a score that uses both your height and weight to provide a rough estimate of whether you’re underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese.

Research has consistently shown that people with a high BMI have a greater risk of serious health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. This makes sense, because most people with high BMIs are in fact overweight or obese.

But “most” is the operative word. BMI is an effective tool at tracking large populations over time, but what it means to each individual—to you—is where things get more complicated.

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