Body Mass Index (BMI)

Body Mass Index (BMI)

The body mass index (BMI), or Quetelet index, is a heuristic proxy for human body fat based on an individual's weight and height. BMI does not actually measure the percentage of body fat.

About Body Mass Index (BMI)

The body mass index (BMI), or Quetelet index, is a heuristic proxy for human body fat based on an individual's weight and height. BMI does not actually measure the percentage of body fat. It was devised between 1830 and 1850 by the Belgian polymath Adolphe Quetelet during the course of developing 'social physics'. Body mass index is defined as the individual's body mass divided by the square of his or her height. The formulae universally used in medicine produce a unit of measure of kg/m. BMI can also be determined using a BMI chart, which displays BMI as a function of weight (horizontal axis) and height (vertical axis) using contour lines for different values of BMI or colors for different BMI categories. The factor for UK/US units is more precisely 703.

Contributions by GraemeL, JSpudeman, and Jfdwolff.