Q:

# How Can You Calculate Body Mass Index for Women?

A:

The formula, weight (lb) / [height (in)]^2 x 703, gives the body mass index for adults and children, both male and female. While BMI is useful as a screening tool, the Centers for Disease Control doesn't consider it as a diagnostic tool. BMI does not measure body fat directly; for example, body builders with large amounts of muscle and little fat have a high BMI.

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Once an individual reaches age 20, the BMI weight categories remain the same for both males and females. The normal range is 18.5 to 24.9. Individuals below this range are underweight, and those above it are overweight. An individual with a BMI above 30 is obese, according to the CDC.

While the correlation between the amount of body fat and BMI is strong, the CDC indicates variations. If a man and a woman have the same BMI, the woman is likely to have more body fat. As a woman ages, even though she maintains the same BMI, her body fat composition is likely to increase.

When a woman is overweight or obese, she has a greater chance of developing certain diseases, according to the CDC. Hypertension, type II diabetes, stroke and osteoarthritis correlate with a high BMI. The chances of a woman developing endometrial, breast or colon cancer also increase.

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