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How To Calculate Your BMI

CBS Medical Correspondent Dr. Emily Senay reports on a new standard government scientists have created for determining when those extra pounds can become a health risk.

The National Institutes of Health now recommends that everyone should have his or her waist measured because being big around the middle puts people at greater risk for heart disease and stroke.

"Fat that is in the abdominal or upper body is much more risky than fat that is in the peripheral or lower body," says obesity expert, Dr. Xavier Pi Sunyer.

A man's waist should measure no more than 40 inches around, and a woman's no more than 35 inches. Those with larger waists are at high risk for complications from obesity.

People also need to know their body mass index or BMI.

Experts have concluded that the body mass index, a way to measure body weight in relation to height, provides patients and doctors with the most accurate way to determine when people exceed their ideal weight.

Under these guidelines, more that half of all Americans would be considered overweight.

The formula for calculating BMI in pounds & inches is:

Weight (in pounds) x 700 divided by
Height (in inches)squared = BMI

over 30 is obese
25-30 is overweight
below 25 is normal


Former GuidelinesNew Guidelines
5'3"/141 lbs. normal5'3"/135 lbs. normal
5'7"/159 lbs. normal5'7"/153 lbs. normal
5'9"/169 lbs. normal5'9"/162 lbs. normal
6'1"/189 lbs. normal6'1"/182 lbs. normal

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