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The BMI Calculator for India: Know where your health stands

Medically reviewed by  R Sindhu Vas, Masters of Food Science and Nutrition

The Body Mass Index Calculator (BMI) is a scientific measurement that helps in categorising an individual into a certain weight group.

The BMI chart, consisting of specified ranges and based on scientific calculations, is a standard way to analyse your health status based on your weight. 

It is, however, not a test for identifying the health or fitness of any individual. Now, what does a weight group mean? Well, we all must have heard the terms, underweight, overweight, obese.

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So, Body Mass Index calculator is one way of determining if an individual falls under any of the above-mentioned categories or does they have a normal BMI [1].

Table Of Contents

BMI quantifies the muscle, fat, and bone mass of an individual. It takes into account the height and weight of a person and the result is a number that determines the weight category.

However, for the Indian/Asian population, the BMI is calculated a tad bit differently. The BMI calculator for India comes with additional categories based on body fat.

How to calculate your BMI

Here are the simple steps to calculate your Body Mass Index:

  1. First, multiply your height in meters (m) by itself
  2.  Now, divide your weight in kilograms (kg) by your step 1 result

The formula for calculating BMI 

BMI quantifies the muscle, fat, and bone mass of an individual. It takes into account the height and weight of a person and a result is a number that determines the weight category. The employed formula is:

BMI = Weight (in kg)/ Height (in meters squared)

For example:

To calculate the Body Mass Index for an adult with a height of 200 cm and a weight of 75 kg, we first need to convert the height into meters.

As there is 100 cm in a meter, we divide our figure by 100, which give us 2 m.

Now, let us put the figures into the formula to calculate the BMI of a person:

BMI= 75 / (2*2)

BMI= 75/4

Hence, BMI= 18.75 

BMI Interpretation for Adults

The BMI categories take into account various body shapes, giving a healthy weight range for a particular height.

Also, these categories are the same for both men and women and all body types and ages.

Below are the BMI chart and a pictograph that shows the weight ranges and the category they fall in.

The BMI categories take into account various body shapes, giving a healthy weight range for a particular height.

Also, these categories are the same for both men and women and all body types and ages.

Below are the BMI chart and a pictograph that shows the weight ranges and the category they fall in.

BMI value

Categories

Less than 18.5

Underweight

18.5-24.9

Healthy weight

25-29.9

Overweight

30 and above

Obese

BMI Value for the regular population

  • The low BMI value of 18.5 and less depicts the condition of being underweight which means the individual needs to gain weight.
  • The BMI value between 18.5 and 24.9 indicates the healthy range which an individual needs to maintain with by leading a healthy lifestyle and by eating a well-balanced diet.
  • The high BMI value between 25 and -29.9 means that the individual is overweight and needs to lose weight.
  • The BMI value of 30 and above is hazardous. Individuals in this category must take immediate steps to reduce their weight to reverse or prevent health-related complications.  

Importance of Body Mass Index Calculator

Body Mass Index calculator gives a number which has been related to different health concerns. Proven diseases that come with excess weight are:

  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Heart diseases
  • Hypertension
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Cancers of breast, colon, prostate
  • Liver diseases
  • Gall Bladder stones

The BMI number is found to be very closely related to the risks of developing the two dreaded diseases of our times, Type 2 Diabetes and Hypertension.

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Health consequences of high BMI in adults

Researchers have established that people with high BMI are at increased risk for many diseases and health conditions including:

1. Increased mortality rate

Obese or overweight people face the risk of dying prematurely when compared to people who are of normal weight. Overweight people are highly likely to develop chronic and cardiovascular diseases that can lead to an early death. [1]

2.  Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes is a common outcome of being overweight. People who are on the higher end of BMI value are likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes because their cells begin to resist insulin due to excess weight.

The first sign of Type 2 Diabetes is pre-diabetes. This is an indication that if the person does not take steps to reduce the weight, they will develop full-blown diabetes.[2]

3. Hypertension

Another risk factor of being overweight is high blood pressure and hypertension. When your weight increases, your blood pressure also increases. Studies have shown that even losing five kilograms can improve hypertension. [3]

4. Cardiovascular diseases

A person with a higher BMI can accumulate bad cholesterol (LDL) and have low levels of good cholesterol (HDL). Being overweight is the chief factor behind this.

Obesity coupled with hypertension can lead to cardiovascular diseases.[4]

5. Osteoporosis

While some studies have shown that fat mass is good for bone mass and health, other studies have revealed that excess fat percentage can be damaging to the bones. However, more research is need on this subject. [5]

6. Stroke

Excess fat tissues cause inflammation which in turn leads to stroke. This blocks the blood flow and ups the risk of blockage.

When you reduce your body weight bringing the BMI to normal range, you reduce the risk of developing stroke greatly.[6]

7. Gallbladder diseases

Studies have revealed that an obese person may accumulate cholesterol in their bile which may lead to gallstones. Losing weight can reduce the risk greatly.

However, it is important to note that losing a large amount of weight all of a sudden can also cause gallstone. Therefore it is important to lose weight in a healthy and sustainable manner. [7]

8. Chronic inflammation

Studies have now linked chronic inflammation to obesity. When you overeat, your immune response is increased. This can cause excessive inflammation. Similarly, excess weight also disrupts body metabolism. Reducing weight can keep inflammation at bay. [8]

7. Cancer

Several studies have noted that obesity can cause certain cancers like breast, pancreatic, gallbladder, liver, kidney, endometrial cancer etc.[9]

As BMI goes up, the risks of metabolic diseases also increase. The BMI number is found to be very closely related to the risks of developing PCOS, Type 2 Diabetes and Hypertension.

Health consequences of low BMI

Though the consequences of high BMI are highlighted, the condition of low BMI is also life-threatening which should be addressed timely. The risks associated with being underweight are:

  • Malnutrition
  • A decrease in immunity
  • Restricted growth and development
  • Reproductive issues and increased risk of miscarriage
  • Higher mortality as compared to normal BMI

Below is a Truweight BMI chart that shows the ideal weight of men and women, body fat % and BMI for the Asian population according to WHO.

Body Mass Index (BMI)
BMI calculator for India

Ranges in Body Mass Index Calculator

Scientifically, as per the standards set by WHO, the accepted range of a normal BMI is 18.5 to 24.9. Therefore, if you fall into this range, you are in a safe weight zone.

If you are below 18.5, you are categorized underweight. And if you have a BMI of more than 25 but less than 29.9, you are considered overweight.  

And with a BMI of more than 30, you are considered to fall into the obese category.

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BMI Calculator for India

Asians body types are different than the rest of the world population and so the obesity features differ too. That is why we see the difference in the overweight limit for the Asians.

And in recent statements made by some Indian researchers it has been mentioned that for Indians, the waist circumference (WC) also plays a vital role in measuring obesity.

Hence, both BMI and WC are important for measuring obesity in Indian population. 

While a BMI of 25 is considered to be healthy internationally, it has been reported that for Indians, more precisely the South Asians, the health quotient according to the BMI number may change.

The World Health Organization itself has accepted that major of the Asian population, who are at higher risk of diabetes and CVDs have BMI lower than the existing WHO- cut off points for overweight [2].

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Hence it is accepted that for Indians the normal BMI cut off should be 23.

BMI values along with weight category
BMI values and weight category

Two factors that determine the health risks depending on BMI values between Asian and non-Asian are:

  • The fat content is found to be higher in Asian people. 
  • The distribution of accumulated fat in the body is different in Asian and in Western people.

Below we share another BMI chart for India.

BMI ranges
A BMI chart depicting BMI ranges recommended by WHO and Asian criteria values

The above BMI chart is based on the WHO and Asian criteria. This BMI chart shows that there is a difference in BMI values for the Asians as compared to the WHO criteria [3].

In a study conducted in the United States, it was found that people with a BMI of 25-29.9 kg/m2 had a 50% increased risk of diabetes compared to the people with BMI ranging between 18-24.9 kg/m2.  [1]

4 Reasons why BMI is an important factor for health

  • It will give you an idea if you are weighing correct in accordance with your height.
  • The BMI number will be a factor in deciding if you carry any risk of certain diseases.
  • It will be an alert so that you can take up the preventive measures against any disease.
  • With your BMI number, you can decide what diet and lifestyle changes that you can take up.

Difference between BMI calculator for men and BMI calculator for women

It has been found that women can carry more fat than men. Also, men carry more muscle. So this way a man and a woman with the same height will have different BMI. 

Many studies have come up with different BMI gap between men and women.  

However, even if men and women have different body structures, BMI threshold or the normal BMI value for both of them has been considered to be the same. This is basically taken up to keep it simple.

Indian Women are more Obese than Indian Men
3 out of 4 Indians are overweight. India’s women are more obese than male.

What to do if you have higher BMI

It has been found that women can carry more fat than men. Also, men carry more muscle. So this way a man and a woman with the same height will have different BMI. 

Many studies have come up with different BMI gap between men and women.  

However, even if men and women have different body structures, BMI threshold or the normal BMI value for both of them has been considered to be the same.

How do I find out if I have the ideal weight?

If you have a BMI higher than 23, that means you are overweight. If you are worried about your health and feel threatened by your calculated Body Mass Index, you may consider visiting your doctor for advice on your health and general well being.

You may also consider eating healthy diets [1], try simple home remedies for weight loss [2] and indulge in some form of exercises [3] to reduce some weight and achieve the ideal weight range.

If you have a BMI above 35, you are suffering from obesity and must seek immediate help.

At this stage, your physician may refer you to undergo Bariatric Surgery [4] to reach your ideal weight. Bariatric surgeries such as Gastric Sleeve, Gastric Bypass, and LAP-BAND®, are all intended to address the cause of excess fat, rather than simply removing fat.

This surgery can achieve long-term weight loss and is the best option for patients with a BMI of 30 or above.

Now whether you go for bariatric surgery or not, for maintenance of ideal weight, you will have to maintain a healthy lifestyle by exercising and eating a well-balanced diet.

Following this would ensure the maintenance of your surgery failing which; the lost weight would come back.

Scientific limitations of BMI measurements

While BMI calculator for India is a very popular way of identifying the weight of an Indian, it does have a few limitations.

  •  It doesn’t take the body fat measurement into consideration.
  •  BMI doesn’t change for men and women. However, as mentioned above, there are differences of the body frame and muscular build up.
  •  BMI measurement cannot directly indicate any health disease.

It is true that Body Mass Index calculator doesn’t consider any detailed data to imply health issues; it is still widely used and is considered as an important parameter in categorising individuals on the basis of weight.  

So, knowing your BMI is always helpful! Have you checked yours yet? To know your BMI right now click here.

For more information on health, weight and diet, you can always visit our website. Click here for the first FREE consultation.

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