In terms of medicine and health, a person’s Body Mass Index (BMI) is a useful measure.  Your BMI is equal to your weight in pounds, times 704.7, divided by the square of your height in inches.  This method is not always accurate for people with very high muscle mass because the weight of muscle is greater than the weight of fat.  In this case, the calculated BMI measurement may be misleading.  There are special machines that find a person’s BMI.  We can find the BMI of a 145-pound woman who is 5’6” tall as follows.

First, we need to convert the height measurement of 5’6” into inches, which is 66”.  Then, the woman’s BMI would be:

This is a normal Body Mass Index.  A normal BMI is less than 25.  A BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered to be overweight and a BMI greater than 30 is considered to be obese.  BMI measurements give doctors information about a patient’s health.  Doctor’s can use this information to suggest health advice for patients. The image below is a BMI table that gives an approximation of health and unhealthy body mass indexes.

Image reproduced with permission of Health Canada