Several websites, such as The National Heart and Lung Institute and Calorie Control, offer body mass index charts and tables. There are also free online calculators that may be used to instantly calculate an individual's body mass index.
The body mass index calculation is used to determine how a person's weight affects health. A BMI of 26 to 27 is considered to pose moderate health risks to an individual. People with a BMI of 30 or greater are considered to be obese and have more serious health risks. Those with BMIs of 30 or greater are estimated to have a risk of death that is 50 to 150 percent greater than the death risk of individuals with healthy BMI measurements. As of 1998, the federal government asserts that a healthy BMI is 24 or less.
Being overweight causes an individual to be more susceptible to conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Health experts suggest that those who are overweight and do not have imminent health risks should exercise and eat more healthily to avoid gaining additional weight. Overweight individuals with added health risks such as high cholesterol or blood pressure should attempt to lose weight to improve their overall health.