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Do BMI numbers add up?
- By Matthew Solan, Executive Editor, Harvard Men's Health Watch
Body mass index has had a mixed reputation for estimating obesity and possible health risks. Are there alternatives to measuring body fat?
How much body fat do you have? The number on a bathroom scale usually offers a clue, but it doesn’t always tell the complete story.
For decades, researchers have used body mass index (BMI) to determine whether a person’s weight is optimal and as an estimate of a person’s proportion of body fat. The BMI formula uses body weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters — or, in American measurements, body weight in pounds divided by the square of height in inches and then multiplied by 703. (If you want to avoid doing math, use an online BMI calculator like the one at /bmi.)
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