Body Mass Index (BMI) - The traditional formula for determining ideal weight

What is the BMI or body mass index?

The body mass index (BMI) – is a coefficient that allows indirectly evaluating whether or not a person is overweight. BMI is calculated by dividing body weight in kilograms over height in meters. The formula for the body mass index is BMI = m / h 2.

The body mass index (BMI) formula was obtained experimentally by the Belgian scientist Adolf Quetelet in 1869. (4) It was used to determine the body mass index. Currently, BMI is a method that doctors use to determine if there is excess weight or obesity.

The BMI is an excellent formula to calculate the ideal weight. However, it has a disadvantage: it does not consider body fat percentage.

Due to the ease of calculating the body mass index. All you need is a scale to determine the weight and a tape measure; to calculate the height. It is one of the most used methods to calculate the ideal weight. However, when the goal is to eliminate body fat, other factors must be considered.

What is the BMI value of the ideal weight?

Quetelet’s ideal body mass index value is between 18-and 25. A coefficient lower than 18 indicates a deficit in body weight, a body mass index of 25-30 is considered overweight. Whereas a body mass index greater than 30 translates as obesity. (1) The ideal BMI of a person of 1.80 m, and 72.5 kg equals 22.4.

If when doing the calculation, the figure falls out of range. We recommend reading: How to lower the body mass index?

BMI and diabetes

Knowing whether the body mass index can be correlated with diseases such as type 2 diabetes has attracted great interest in the scientific community. Research to date has not confirmed a direct relationship between these two parameters. (4) (5).

The interest was aroused by data taken from two medical services in the US. Most of the patients admitted with a high body mass index were prone to diabetes.

However, the results obtained later did not confirm this. These studies clarify that BMI is not the best method to estimate whether a person may have diabetes.

However, the main rule of thumb to avoid diabetes and a high BMI is limiting your consumption of simple carbohydrates. The best-known simple carbohydrate is sugar, a molecule capable of causing blood sugar levels to get out of control.

Body Mass Index: An Obsolete Factor?

Science has come a long way in the last 150 years since Lorentz’s ideal weight formula was introduced and Quetelet announced his BMI theory.

According to new research, the data obtained through these formulas is ambiguous and is not the best for calculating a person’s ideal weight.

Large margins of error have even been found in people suffering from obesity or dystrophy. An Estaudonidean review showed that the BMI formula diagnosed 36% of the participants as obese; however, the reality is that 49% suffered from this problem (1).

Is BMI used to calculate the percentage of body fat?

It is essential to consider that BMI is not a formula that allows for calculating the percentage of body fat accurately. The value of the body mass index can be very similar in a person with a high percentage of fat than that of an athletic person. To calculate the ideal weight it works, for the% of body fat we recommend using a caliper and tables.

Body fat percentage should complement BMI when calculating the weight. Failing to determine excess fat is a common mistake in traditional medicine. If the objective is to reduce BMI and body fat percentage, healthy eating rules must be included.

The BMI is not the best method to correlate the factor of mortality and diseases related to diet. (3) The body mass index is used to calculate the ideal weight as long as other factors are taken into account


  • The body mass index is calculated as BMI = m / h 2, where m is body mass and height.
  • This formula is the most traditional for calculating the ideal body weight. However, it is not the most accurate.
  • The ideal is to complement it with a method that measures body fat percentage.
  • It cannot be said that BMI and diabetes are directly related. However, a person suffering from obesity is likely prone to type 2 diabetes.
  • Consuming simple carbohydrates is one of the leading causes of high body mass index.
  • Incorporating other formulas to calculate the ideal weight is still a challenge for the scientific community.

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