Short of breath
  Too tired
  The dwindles
  Weight loss
  Mom to be
  Very sociable
   Thanks To
 Mark W. Braun, MD

   Nutrition and Diagnosis-Related Care



The body mass index (BMI) is a rough approximation of a person's lean body mass. The calculation works best for those in the middle of the population range of height and weight.

The rule is, weigh and measure the patient yourself.  Don't count on what the patient tells you being accurate. Especially the height a man is likely to tell you.

  • BMI = [Weight (kg)] / [(Height in meters)2]
  • An example of a 200 lb, 6 foot tall man.
    • BMI = [91 kg] / [(1.83)2]
    • BMI = 91 / 3.35 = 27.2
  • Of course, you can get an estimate from a nomogram without needing to go through the calculation. Click on the image for a larger and printable image.
  • The important thing is to have an accurate height and weight.
  • So what is a healthy BMI?
    • <18.5, underwieght
    • 18.5 - 25, you're in good shape
    • 25 - 29.9, health risks begin
    • 30 - 40, serious health risk
    • >40, severe health risk.

But nothing beats a good history and physical exam for assessing nutritional status. It is especially important to establish a baseline when following someone with a chronic problem.

The most comprehensive and reproducible method is the Subjective Global Assessment.

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