What does a bmi of 27 mean

Your BMI is calculated by dividing your weight (in kilograms) by the square of your height (in meters). In other words the algebraic expression for BMI is kilograms per square meter:

BMI = Kg / (m)2

One variable BMI fails to consider is lean body mass. It is possible for a healthy, muscular individual with very low body fat to be classified obese using the BMI formula.

Enter your height (in inches) and weight (in pounds) in the boxes below and then click "Calculate." The following conversion factors are used in the metric to english calculations:

1 inch = 2.54 cm100 cm = 1 m1 lb = 0.45359237 Kg 
Height: InchesWeight: Pounds

Your calculated BMI is:

Now refer to the BMI table to see where you are...

If your BMI is below 20: Under Weight

This indicates a lean BMI, which means you have a low amount of body fat. If you are an athlete, this can be desirable. If you are not an athlete, a lean BMI can indicate that your weight may be too low, which may lower your immunity. If your BMI and body weight are low, you should consider gaining weight through good diet and exercise habits, to increase your muscle mass.

If your BMI is between 20 and 22: Heralthy Weight

This indicates the ideal, healthy amount of body fat, which is associated with living longest, and the lowest incidence of serious illness. Coincidentally, it seems this ratio is what many individuals perceive to be the most aesthetically attractive.

If your BMI is between 22 and 25: Healthy Weight

This is still considered an acceptable range, and is associated with good health.

If your BMI is between 25 and 30: Overweight

You are considered overweight and should finds ways to lower your weight, through diet and exercise. You are at increased risk for a variety of illnesses at your present weight. You should lose weight by changing your diet and exercising more.

If your BMI is over 30: Significantly Overweight

This indicates an unhealthy condition, your excess mass is putting you at risk for heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, gall bladder disease, circulation problems, and some cancers. You should lose weight by changing your diet and exercising more.

If your BMI is over 40: Dangerously Overweight

A BMI over 40 is dangerously overweight and puts you at severe risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, gall bladder disease, circulation problems, and some cancers. Losing some weight could save your life.

You've probably heard the term BMI (body mass index). It's based on your height and weight, and it's widely used to determine if you're in a healthy weight range. But as it turns out, BMI alone may not be the best way to size up your shape.

Taking a Closer Look at BMI

Calculated from a person's height and weight, BMI breaks down into four categories:

  • Underweight: BMI below 18.5
  • Normal: BMI of 18.5 to 24.9
  • Overweight: BMI of 25 to 29.9
  • Obese: BMI of 30 or higher

But how useful is this number really?

"Probably for 90% or 95% of the population, BMI is just fine as a general measure of obesity," says Richard L. Atkinson, MD, a researcher and editor of the International Journal of Obesity.

But some critics take a different view. Scott Kahan, who directs the National Center for Weight and Wellness, says, "Traditionally, we define obesity by a certain cutoff on the BMI scale." But judging whether a person is obese based only on their size is old-fashioned and not terribly useful, he says.

A football player who is very muscular could have a high BMI and yet their body fat is actually low. -- Scott Kahan, MD

Kahan specializes in helping people manage excess weight that can lead to health problems, including diabetes and heart disease. At his center, measuring BMI is only a starting point. He sees people who are overweight but healthy, and their BMI doesn't truly reflect their health risks.

"They're heavy. Their BMI puts them in the obesity range. And yet on every level that we look at, their health is actually quite good," he says. "Their cholesterol and blood pressure are excellent. Their blood sugar is excellent. They don't seem to have any health effects associated with their excess weight."

Although BMI is useful as a quick screening tool by a doctor or nurse, Kahan says, it's not enough to look at only that number.

A football player who is very muscular could have a high BMI and yet their body fat is actually low. -- Scott Kahan, MD

BMI's Drawbacks

Your BMI doesn't reveal anything about the makeup of your body, such as how much muscle vs. fat you have. That's why conclusions based only on this number can be misleading, especially when it comes to the following:

How muscular you are: A few people have high BMIs but don't have much body fat. Their muscle tissue pushes up their weight. An example: "A football player or a body builder who is very muscular. Their BMI shows up pretty high, and yet their body fat is actually pretty low," Kahan says.

Your activity level: Someone who is very inactive may have a BMI in the normal range and have lots of body fat, though they may not look out of shape.

"They have very low levels of muscle and bone -- often elderly people, those in poor shape, sometimes those who are sick. Their BMI can look in the normal range, even though they have quite a lot of body fat in comparison to their lean body mass," Kahan says. "Ultimately, they have similar risks as people who carry lots of body fat and have a high BMI."

Your body type: Are you an apple shape or a pear shape? The location of your fat makes a difference to your health. Generally, it's the belly fat, or the "apple" shape, that has a higher health risk. When fat settles around the waist instead of the hips, the chance of heart disease and type 2 diabetes goes up. Fat that builds up on the hips and thighs, or the "pear" shape, isn't as potentially harmful.

Your age: The notion of an ideal BMI may shift with age. "People who are older probably should have a little more fat on them, [but] they shouldn't have a BMI of 30," Atkinson says.

He points out that late in life, people who are "a little bit overweight" tend to have a better survival rate than leaner people. The reasons for that aren't totally clear, but it may have to do with having reserves to draw on when fighting off an illness. It's hard to tell for sure, since many things affect your health.

Your ethnicity: There are a lot of differences in BMI and health risk among ethnic groups. For example, Asian-Americans tend to develop health risks, including the risk of diabetes, at lower BMIs than whites. A healthy BMI for Asians ranges from 18.5 to 23.9, a full point lower than the standard range. And Asians are considered obese at a BMI of 27 or higher, compared to the standard BMI obesity measure of 30 or higher.

People of Indian descent face higher health risks at relatively lower BMIs, Atkinson says. "The standard definition of overweight is a BMI of 25 or above. But if you're from India, your risk of diabetes starts going up with a BMI of about 21 or 22."

In contrast, many African-Americans may have a high BMI, but without the health risks that usually go along with it. Compared to whites with the same weight and BMI, African-Americans tend to have less visceral fat (fat around their organs) and more muscle mass, Atkinson says. Therefore, an African-American with a BMI of 28, which the standard chart calls overweight, might be as healthy as a white person with a BMI of 25.

Beyond BMI

So what other tools can you use besides BMI? You may want to get out your measuring tape.

Waist size: For an accurate measurement, the tape measure should go around your waist at the top of your hip bones in your lower back and go around to the belly button.

To help prevent health problems from being overweight, men should keep their waist size to no more than 40 inches. Women should stick to no more than 35 inches. Again, there are some ethnic differences. Asian men should keep their waists no more than 35.5 inches and Asian women to no more than 31.5 inches, according to the Joslin Diabetes Center.

Waist-to-height ratio: This compares your waist measurement to your height. It may be even more helpful than waist circumference alone, Kahan says. The goal is for your waist circumference to be less than half of your height.

Other ways to measure body fat that may be more accurate than using BMI alone include the waist-to-hip circumference, skinfold thickness measurement, and ultrasound. Your doctor can help decide if these further tests may be needed.

Show Sources


Richard L. Atkinson, MD, clinical professor of pathology, Virginia Commonwealth University; editor, International Journal of Obesity; president, Obetech Obesity Research Center in Richmond, Va.

Scott Kahan, MD, MPH, director, National Center for Weight and Wellness, Washington, D.C.; faculty member, George Washington University School of Medicine; faculty member, Johns Hopkins University.

Is a BMI of 27 good for a woman?

A healthy weight is considered to be a BMI of 24 or less. A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight. A BMI of 30 and above is considered obese.

Is a BMI of 27 too high?

Taking a Closer Look at BMI Normal: BMI of 18.5 to 24.9. Overweight: BMI of 25 to 29.9. Obese: BMI of 30 or higher.

What does BMI of 27 look like?

BMI scores of 20 to 24.9 are considered normal, scores of 25 to 29.9 are overweight, scores of 30 to 34.9 are obese, and scores above 35 are extremely obese. Scores under 20 are considered underweight. You can easily calculate your score using a calculator.

What is 27 BMI in pounds?