Calculate your BMI

One way you can check if you are obese or not is by calculating your Body Mass Index (BMI). You can work out your body mass index by dividing your weight in kilograms by height in metres2. Alternatively, you can simply use a BMI calculator instead

So, what does your score mean?

Although BMI scores are a useful marker, it does not take into account body composition, the distribution of fat around the body or ethnicity. For example, athletic or muscular people may have a higher BMI and the Asian population BMI scoring is approximately two points lower than the standard recommended levels. However, the most common cause of a high BMI is extra fat and experts have agreed ‘desirable’ BMI scores:

  • An ideal BMI is 19 to 25.
  • If your BMI is between 25 and 30, you are thought to be overweight and it might be time to start thinking about changing your lifestyle.
  • If your BMI is 35 or over, you are at risk of health problems and it is likely that surgery would be beneficial.

Other considerations

Body fat
In addition to the total amount of body fat you carry, it is possible that the distribution of fat around the body is also related to health risk. Fat distribution can be divided into two types – apple shaped and pear shaped. Apple shaped is where fat is stored centrally around the abdomen, typically seen in men. In pear shapes, peripheral fat is distributed around the hips and thighs, sometimes seen in women. It is thought that men and women with central obesity (fat around the mid and upper parts of the body) are at a greater risk of developing heart disease than those whose fat distribution is around the hips and thighs.

Please be aware that this advice is a guide only. If you are worried about your weight, you should discuss it with your GP.


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