What is BMI?

BMI Calculator

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BMI (Body Mass Index) is a measurement based on height and weight that applies to both men and women between the ages of 18 and 65 years.BMI can be used to indicate whether you are overweight, obese, underweight or normal. A healthy BMI score is between 20 and 25.

A score below 20 indicates that you may be underweight; a value above 25 indicates that you may be overweight.

A BMI of 30 – 35 is considered obese. The FDA has approved some banding procedures for this group, assuming the existence of medical conditions such as diabetes. Insurance companies are not routinely approving patients with a BMI of 30 – 35 for surgery. Patients in this range can be considered for a Band procedure or Sleeve Gastrectomy on a case-by-case basis.

A BMI of 35 – 40 is considered morbidly obese if medical conditions, such as diabetes, also exist. The Sleeve Gastrectomy or a Band procedure are reasonable options for these patients, but insurance approval can often be difficult.

A BMI of 40 indicates that you may be about 100 pounds overweight. Most insurance companies approve bariatric surgery for people with a BMI of 40 or above.  Any procedure can be chosen for a BMI in this  range.

Obesity, BMI and Ideal Body Weight

Obesity is defined as having a BMI greater than 30.

Morbid obesityis defined as having a BMI greater than 40 or from 35 – 39.9 with weight-related medical conditions (diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, high cholesterol levels, and arthritis). Once your BMI is greater than 35, your risk of developing these medical problems or dying from obesity-related complications increases significantly.


Most Ideal Body Weight numbers come from Metropolitan Life Insurance Tables dating back to 1979 (or even as early as 1945). This data set does not consider age or body frame. The better approach is to consider an Ideal Body Weight range based on BMI range.

Generally, a BMI of 19 – 25 is considered normal and healthy. A BMI of 26 – 30 is considered overweight, though individuals with larger frames and/or greater muscle mass may be healthy nevertheless. Dr. Jossart recommends that all obese individuals who opt to lose weight through surgery pick a goal weight that correlates with a BMI of 23 – 29. (This range accounts for some excess skin.) Dr. Jossart and staff are happy to help you calculate the BMI that promises optimal health for you.