BMI is a critical health indicator valued in the health field. It can track a population’s obesity and determine its health status.

BMI orthe body mass index is a tool used by researchers to track the obesity of a population. It is also used by healthcare professionals and doctors to check people’s health. Most organizations recommend itbecause it helps reduce the risks of contracting diseases.The body mass index uses your weight and height to determine whether you arehealthy. Many factors should be considered in determining a person’s health,including activity levels, diet, sleeping habits, and blood test results. To determine BMI, a person’s weight in kilograms is divided by their height in squared meters. If the value is; less than18.5,18.5 to 24.9, or25 to 29.9,you are underweight, healthy, oroverweight, respectively. People with a BMI of 30 to 39.9 are obese. This article focuses onBMI and how it relates to women’s health.

What is the normal BMI?

Normal BMI for adults ranges from 18.5 to 24.9. However, the BMI foryoung people and children of 2 to 18 years is calculated according to their gender, age, weight, and height. Whoever has a valuebelow 18.5 is underweight.

Is BMI accurate?

When measuring BMI, many things are considered to assess whether your weight is healthy. These include weight, height, and body shape. Muscular people have a healthy weight despite their BMI being classified as obese sincemuscles are denser than fats.Moreover, BMI should not be used in determininghealth duringpregnancy and ethnic groups can also affect a person’s health conditions in some ways.

Importance of BMI

  • It is the cheapest and the easiest means used by researchersto track obesity in a population.
  • It is an accurate method for checking mortality risks and diseases in individuals.
  • It classifies people who are obese and informs them that they are at higher risk of developing chronic diseases and may die early compared to those with normal BMI.
  • It also indicates that the underweight may also be at risk of developing diseases and early death.

Remember that BMI is not reliable for determining health when used on its own. However, it can be used together with other diagnostic tools such as waist circumference and laboratory values to get the accurate state of an individual’s health and their risksofcontracting diseases.

Healthy BMI ranges and classification

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to determine a person’s body fat levels. Below are a summary of BMI ranges and their classifications:

  • Below 16.5 – severely underweight
  • Below 18.5- underweight
  • 18.5- 24.9- normal weight
  • 25.0- 29.9- overweight
  • 30.0- 34.9- obesity class I
  • 35.0- 39.9- obesity class II
  • 40 and above- obesity class III

BMI rangesand factorsfor black, white, and Hispanic women

Black, white and Hispanic women have a BMI rangingfrom 18.5 to 24.9, which is healthy.Women have different body compositions and body shapes. For instance, Mexicanshave uneven fat distribution in their bodies compared to black or white women. On the other hand, black women have larger muscles than Mexican, American, or white women.

Mexican women also havemuch body mass around their abdomen compared to the rest of the body parts. They have more fat around the waist circumference than black or white women with the same BMI. Still, ethnicitydoes not determine a person’s body fat distribution, weight, waist circumference, and muscle mass proportion. Moreover, mortality risk and BMI are weaker among black women than among white women.

BMI among south Asian and Asian women

According to studies, south Asians and Asians have more body fat than white people. There is a higher probability that type 2 diabetes may occur among people with lower BMI in the Asian population than the white population, necessitatingBMI cutoffs for the Asian populations. This is the case because Asian and South Asian women are overweight, with aBMI of 23 to 27.5. Consequently, they become obese when the value goes above 27.5.

BMIs for athletes and body builders

Women who have large amounts of muscle mass are always put in the category of overweight or obese by the BMI system. They are classified this way even though the level of their body fat is low. Such peopleinclude professional athletes and bodybuilders. This happensbecause BMI does not differentiate between fat and muscle mass; hence, it should not be used to measure women’s body composition.

BMI for postmenopausal women

Older women have low muscle mass with more fat in their bodies located around the midsection than younger women. This is because the related variations in their hormonal levels affect their physical activities. Besides, the length of their torso also changes because of osteoporosis.Although older women may havea similar BMI asyounger women, it still remainsa fact thatthey have low muscle mass and a lot of body fat, making them vulnerable to diseases.

Pregnancy BMI

It is common for most womentogain weight during pregnancy, as seen in the BMI ranges during this period. Therefore, theyshould follow the guidelines by their healthcare provider, who will help them determinea normal weight gain while pregnant based on their health. Weight gain is also different when a woman is carrying two babies or more.


BMI is an important tool used by healthcare professionals and scientists when evaluating public health for populations. Still, it may not be an accurate tool as it has flaws; hence, it should not be used in assessing a person’s health status or level of body fat. BMI does differentiate between lean body mass or body fat and does not also take into account where the fat is located in the body.


We would like to thank the below contributors who have helped us to write this article:

The Toned Woman

Barbara is a freelance writer and a sex and relationships adviser at Dimepiece LA and Peaches and Screams. Barbara is involved in various educational initiatives aimed at making sex advice more accessible to everyone and breaking stigmas around sex across various cultural communities. In her spare time, Barbara enjoys trawling through vintage markets in Brick Lane, exploring new places, painting and reading.

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