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Calculate Your BMI

BMI stands for body mass index and is a number that approximates a person's body fat. It is calculated with a formula that uses the person's height and weight. BMI does not measure actual body fat but is a quick, easy and inexpensive way to determine whether a person is normal, overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

A BMI of 20 to 24.9 is considered normal, 25 to 29.9 is overweight and 30 or above is obese, according to Discovery Health. People with a BMI of 25 or higher are at a higher risk for certain health conditions, including heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure, according to the CDC. For this reason, a physician may recommend a weight-loss program or may conduct more tests, such as waist measurement and an evaluation of risk factors for people with high BMIs. A BMI of less than 18.5 is considered underweight.

People who are overweight or obese should lose weight. The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute recommends that overweight or obese patients start out with a goal of losing 10 percent of their weight at the rate of 1 to 2 lbs. each week, which means that patients should cut back their caloric intake by 500 to 1,000 calories per day according to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute's Obesity Education Initiative.