How much should you weigh? The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) has devised its own tables of body mass index (BMI), a height/weight measure. This information provides some basic guidance on how much weight is too low, just right, and over the top for your height.

You can easily determine your current body mass index by checking Table 15-2, a table of BMI levels provided by the NHLBI. The BMI is derived from a rather complicated formula, but you don't have to drag out your calculator or your old high school math book to do the equations. The nice people who made the chart have done all those calculations for you. (You can also find a handy online calculator at www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/.)

Note: If you don't find your height/weight combination in Table 15-2, check out the online calculator. Another BMI chart is also available at www.nhlbi. nih.gov/guidelines/obesity/bmi_tbl2.htm for BMIs greater than 35.

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Find out where you fit on the BMI chart, based on your height and weight. Then review Table 15-3 to see what your BMI means. In general, if your body mass index is 25 or greater, you're considered overweight.

For example, suppose that Mary is 5 feet 4 inches (64 inches) tall, and weighs 174 pounds. Her BMI is 30, which means that Mary is obese. To move down into the overweight category — which still isn't great but is better than obese — Mary would need to drop down to 169 pounds, a mere 5-pound weight loss. If Mary then decides that she wants to catapult herself all the way into the normal range, she would shoot for weighing less than 145 pounds.

Being underweight can be as unhealthy as being overweight. Instead of striving to look like your favorite movie star or Olsen twin, you want to strive for a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9.

Table 15-2

Body Mass Index Chart

 BMI 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 Height (inches) Body Weight (pounds) 58 91 96 100 105 110 115 119 124 129 134 138 143 148 153 158 162 167 59 94 99 104 109 114 119 124 128 133 138 143 148 153 158 163 168 173 60 97 102 107 112 118 123 128 133 138 143 148 153 158 163 168 174 179 61 100 106 111 116 122 127 132 137 143 148 153 158 164 169 174 180 185 62 104 109 115 120 126 131 136 142 147 153 158 164 169 175 180 186 191 63 107 113 118 124 130 135 141 146 152 158 163 169 175 180 186 191 197 64 110 116 122 128 134 140 145 151 157 163 169 174 180 186 192 197 204 65 114 120 126 132 138 144 150 156 162 168 174 180 186 192 198 204 210 66 118 124 130 136 142 148 155 161 167 173 179 186 192 198 204 210 216 67 121 127 134 140 146 153 159 166 172 178 185 191 198 204 211 217 223 68 125 131 138 144 151 158 164 171 177 184 190 197 203 210 216 223 230 69 128 135 142 149 155 162 169 176 182 189 196 203 209 216 223 230 236 70 132 139 146 153 160 167 174 181 188 195 202 209 216 222 229 236 243 71 136 143 150 157 165 172 179 186 193 200 208 215 222 229 236 243 250 72 140 147 154 162 169 177 184 191 199 206 213 221 228 235 242 250 258 73 144 151 159 166 174 182 189 197 204 212 219 227 235 242 250 257 265 74 148 155 163 171 179 186 194 202 210 218 225 233 241 249 256 264 272 75 152 160 168 176 184 192 200 208 216 224 232 240 248 256 264 272 279 76 156 164 172 180 189 197 205 213 221 230 238 246 254 263 271 279 287
 Table 15-3 Body Mass Index Levels Body Mass Index Category BMI Underweight Less than 18.5 Normal weight 18.5-24.9 Overweight 25-29.9 Obesity 30 or greater

Source: National Heart Lung and Blood Institute /www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/

Source: National Heart Lung and Blood Institute /www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/

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