As you think about how weight affects your life and health, there are tools you can use. These include body mass index (BMI) and waist measurement. BMI and waist measurement are used to find out if you’re at a higher risk of developing health problems because of your body weight or shape.
These measurements aren’t for everyone. Adult BMI and waist measurement shouldn’t be used if you’re:
- under 18 or older than 65 years
The BMI may not accurately be able to predict health risk for adults who:
- aren’t finished growing
- are very lean or very muscular adults
- have certain ancestry or are from some ethnic groups such as South, Southeast or East Asian ethnicity
Talk to your healthcare provider about your level of health risk.
Your waist measurement is how many inches or centimetres you measure around your waist. Your waist measurement can help to measure health risk related to fat stored around your belly. You’re at higher risk of developing health problems such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure if your waist measures more than:
- 102 cm (40 inches) if you were assigned male at birth
- 88 cm (35 inches) if you were assigned female at birth
To learn how to measure your waist, go to
Using BMI to assess health risk
The BMI measures the ratio of your weight to your height. To learn more about your BMI, go to BMI. If your BMI is 18.5–24.9 your BMI has the lowest risk of you developing health problems.
If your BMI is 25 to 29.9, your weight is classified in the overweight category. If your BMI is 30 or more, your weight is classified in the obesity category. If your weight is classified in the overweight or obesity categories, you
may be at higher risk of developing health problems
- metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes
- high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease
- certain cancers
- sleep apnea
- liver or gallbladder disease
- painful joints and back
- fertility issues, pregnancy complications
- depression, low self-esteem
There’s more to your health risk than just your BMI or waist measurement.
Other lifestyle habits such as eating, smoking, physical activity and some medical conditions can also affect your health risk. To learn what your health risk is, it’s important to have a complete health check with your doctor or healthcare provider.