The body mass index number defines the relationship between a person’s height and weight, specifically the relationship of their mass in comparison to their height. If you know your BMI, it can help calculate whether your current weight is healthy for your height. BMI is not the only factor used to determine a healthy body weight, but it is one of the most widely accepted and recognized ways to find out if you are at a healthy weight for your height.

## BMI Formula

weight in pounds divided by height in inches squared, multiplied by 703 =

weight in kilos divided by height in meters squared =

example: weight of 130 pounds and height 5’6″

130 / 66 x 703 = 19.163592

70.3 kg / 1.78 x 1.65 = 24.71764

A more accurate way of calculating your bmi is to use a BMI calculator and plug in your weight and height.

## The Belgian statistician Adolphe Quetelet

The term “body mass index” (BMI) was coined by the Belgian statistician Adolphe Quetelet during the nineteenth century as an analytical method of studying the body shape and health of populations. The popularity of BMI expanded greatly during the 1980s amid a “gaining weight” epidemic when many public health organizations began encouraging people to measure their weight and height. These agencies regarded BMI as an attractive alternative to direct measures of body fat about health, despite significant research in the area at that time, because it was cheap and easy to use for epidemiological studies. However, BMI increased in popularity during the 1990s, when it became clear that people with a high BMI were at greater risk of developing heart disease and certain cancers. Today many countries use this index to classify their citizens into different categories for clinical purposes.