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Here are some key points about BMI. More detail and supporting information is in the main article.

  • Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of relative size based on the mass and height of an individual.
  • The Quetelet Index was devised by Adolphe Quetelet, a Belgian mathematician, astronomer and statistician, in 1832. It was later termed "body mass index" in 1972 by Ancel Keys.
  • BMI is a simple, inexpensive and noninvasive surrogate measure of body fat.
  • Factors such as age, sex, ethnicity and muscle mass are not accounted for in BMI.
  • For adults 20 years and older, BMI is interpreted by using standard weight status categories that are the same for all ages, and for both men and women.
  • For children and adolescents between 2-20 years old, BMI is interpreted relative to a child's age and sex.
  • BMI is a reasonable indicator of body fat for both adults and children.
  • Because BMI does not measure body fat directly, it should not be used as a diagnostic tool.
  • BMI should be used as a measure to track weight status in populations and as a screening tool to identify potential weight problems in individuals.
  • Other measures of body fat, such as skinfold thicknesses, bioelectrical impedance, underwater weighing and dual energy X-ray absorption, maybe more accurate than BMI.

Information from Medical News Today