The medical community believes that BMI, or body mass index, charts provide an accurate reflection of an adult’s level of fatness, according to WebMD. The National Institutes of Health created the charts in 1998 as a universal measurement tool among health professionals, dieticians, researchers and government agencies.
BMI charts base their figures on body weight in pounds divided by height in inches square multiplied by 703, notes WebMD. Individuals can do the calculation by hand or use a chart to see a prefigured BMI.
Some controversy about the accuracy of BMI exists, notes WebMD. Detractors of its use note that BMI does not take fat mass and lean body mass into account, which makes heavily muscled athletes have high BMIs even without high body fat percentages.