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Use of Height and Weight Assessment Tools 

Use of Height and Weight Assessment Tools
Chapter:
Use of Height and Weight Assessment Tools
Author(s):

Nancie H. Herbold

and Sari Edelstein

DOI:
10.1093/med:psych/9780199845491.003.0097
Page of

Subscriber: null; date: 21 September 2017

In the past, to determine whether an individual was over- or underweight, clinicians consulted the Metropolitan Life Insurance Weight for Height Tables. These tables considered sex and frame size to determine desirable weight associated with greater life expectancy. Today, the preferred method for assessing body weight is the use of body mass index (BMI). Body mass index is more closely related to body fat content than the Metropolitan Tables. To determine BMI for either a man or a woman, body weight in kilograms is divided by height in meters squared.

BMI =Weight(kg)Height(m)2BMI =Weight(lbs)Height(inches)2×703

For ease, Table 97.1 is provided to make the BMI calculation unnecessary. To use the table, find the appropriate height in the left-hand column. Move across to a given weight; pounds have been rounded. The number at the top of the column is the BMI for that height and weight, corresponding designations for normal, overweight, obese, and extremely obese BMI levels.

Table 97.1. Body Mass Index Table

Normal

Overweight

Obese

Extreme Obesity

BMI

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

28

29

30

31

32

33

34

35

36

37

38

39

40

41

42

43

44

45

46

47

48

49

50

51

52

53

54

Height (inches)

Body weight (pounds)

58

91

96

100

105

110

115

119

124

129

134

138

143

148

153

158

162

167

172

177

181

186

191

196

201

205

210

215

220

224

229

234

239

244

248

253

258

59

94

99

104

109

114

119

124

128

133

138

143

148

153

158

163

168

173

178

183

188

193

198

203

208

212

217

222

227

232

237

242

247

252

257

262

267

60

97

102

107

112

118

123

128

133

138

143

148

153

158

163

168

174

179

184

189

194

199

204

209

215

220

225

230

235

240

245

250

255

261

266

271

276

61

100

106

111

116

122

127

132

137

143

148

153

158

164

169

174

180

185

190

195

201

206

211

217

222

227

232

238

243

248

254

259

264

269

275

280

285

62

104

109

115

120

126

131

136

142

147

153

158

164

169

175

180

186

191

196

202

207

213

218

224

229

235

240

246

251

256

262

267

273

278

284

289

295

63

107

113

118

124

130

135

141

146

152

158

164

169

175

180

186

191

197

203

208

214

220

225

231

237

242

248

254

259

265

270

278

282

287

293

299

304

64

110

116

122

128

134

140

145

151

157

163

169

174

180

186

192

197

204

209

215

221

227

232

238

244

250

256

262

267

273

279

285

291

296

302

308

314

65

114

120

126

132

138

144

150

156

162

168

174

180

186

192

198

204

210

216

222

228

234

240

246

252

258

264

270

276

282

288

294

300

306

312

318

324

66

118

124

130

136

142

148

155

161

167

173

179

186

192

198

204

210

216

223

229

235

241

247

253

260

266

272

278

284

291

297

303

309

315

322

328

334

67

121

127

134

140

146

153

159

166

172

178

185

191

198

204

211

217

223

230

236

242

249

255

261

268

274

280

287

293

299

306

312

319

325

331

338

344

68

125

131

138

144

151

158

164

171

177

184

190

197

203

210

216

223

230

236

243

249

256

262

269

276

282

289

295

302

308

315

322

328

335

341

348

354

69

128

135

142

149

155

162

169

176

182

189

196

203

209

216

223

230

236

243

250

257

263

270

277

284

291

297

304

311

318

324

331

338

345

351

358

365

70

132

139

146

153

160

167

174

181

188

195

202

209

216

222

229

236

243

250

257

264

271

278

285

292

299

306

313

320

327

334

341

348

355

362

369

376

71

136

143

150

157

165

172

179

186

193

200

208

215

222

229

236

243

250

257

265

272

279

286

293

301

308

315

322

329

338

343

351

358

365

372

379

386

72

140

147

154

162

169

177

184

191

199

206

213

221

228

235

242

250

258

265

272

279

287

294

302

309

316

324

331

338

346

353

361

368

375

383

390

397

73

144

151

159

166

174

182

189

197

204

212

219

227

235

242

250

257

265

272

280

288

295

302

310

318

325

333

340

348

355

363

371

378

386

393

401

408

74

148

155

163

171

179

186

194

202

210

218

225

233

241

249

256

264

272

280

287

295

303

311

319

326

334

342

350

358

365

373

381

389

396

404

412

420

75

152

160

168

176

184

192

200

208

216

224

232

240

248

256

264

272

279

287

295

303

311

319

327

335

343

351

359

367

375

383

391

399

407

415

423

431

76

156

164

172

180

189

197

205

213

221

230

238

246

254

263

271

279

287

295

304

312

320

328

336

344

353

361

369

377

385

394

402

410

418

426

435

443

Source: National Institute of Health, 2003. Adapted from Clinical guidelines on identification, evaluation, and treatment of overweight and obesity in adults: The evidence report. Retrieved 2011 from www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/obesity/ob_gdlns.pdf

BMI is a tool for assessing body weight, but it is not without its limitations. For example, BMI does not totally differentiate between weight that is muscle and weight that is fat. Therefore, an athlete in good physical shape may have a high BMI but not high body fat. (Table 97.2 can be utilized for athletic individuals.)

Table 97.2. Classification of Overweight and Obesity by Body Mass Index (BMI), Waist Circumference, and Associated Disease Risks

BMI (kg/m2)

Obesity Class

  • Disease Riska Relative to Normal

  • Men 102 cm (40 in) or Less

  • Women 88 cm (35 in) or Less

  • Weight and Waist Circumference

  • Men > 102 cm (40 in)

  • Women > 88 cm (35 in)

Underweight

<18.5

Normal

18.5–24.9

Overweight

25.0–29.9

Increased

High

Obesity

30.0–34.9

I

High

Very high

35.0–39.9

II

Very high

Very high

Extreme obesity

40.0+b

III

Extremely high

Extremely high

a Disease risk for type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease.

b Increased waist circumference can also be a marker for increased risk even in persons of normal weight.

Note: Divide weight in pounds by 2.2 to get kilograms.

Interpretation

Both BMI, shown in Table 97.1, and waist circumference (WC), shown in Table 97.2, can be useful measures for determining obesity. According to the National Institutes of Health, a high WC is (p. 494) (p. 495) associated with an increased risk for Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease when BMI is between 25 and 34.9. A BMI greater than 25 is considered overweight, and a BMI greater than 30 is considered obese. Additionally, WC can be useful for those people categorized as normal or overweight in terms of BMI. For example, an athlete with increased muscle mass may have a BMI greater than 25. Changes in WC over time can indicate an increase or decrease in abdominal fat. Increased abdominal fat is associated with an increased risk of heart disease. To use Table 97.2 for athletic individuals, convert the weight in pounds by dividing by a factor of 2.2 to equal the weight in kilograms.

Waist Circumference

To determine your WC, locate your waist and measure the circumference. The tape measure should be snug, but it should not cause compressions on the skin. Table 97.2 should be helpful in determining the possible risks associated with your BMI and WC.

References and Readings

Center for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity. (2011). BMI: Body Mass Index. Retireved February 2013, from www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/index.html. (see also www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/bmi/calc-bmi.htm)

National Institutes of Health. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. (2011). Aim for a healthy weight. Retrieved February 2013, from www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/obesity/bmi_tbl.htm

National Institutes of Health. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. (2011). Nutrition curriculum guide for training physician. Retrieved February 2013, from www.nhlbi.nih.gov/funding/training/naa/curr_gde.pdf

Related Topics

Chapter 96, “Normal Medical Laboratory Values and Measurement Conversions”

Chapter 129, “Common Clinical Abbreviations and Symbols”