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How to Convert BMI to Pounds
Body mass index, or BMI, is a rough measure of body weight that estimates whether your weight is healthy for an average person of your height 2. BMI is not a suitable measurement for children or very muscular athletes. For the rest of us, however, it's a useful tool that can help to identify and maintain the appropriate weight range for a given height.
Measure the height, in inches, of the person whose BMI you want to convert to pounds. One foot is 12 inches, so a 5-foot-6-inch person would be (5 x 12) + 6 inches tall, or 66 inches.
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Calculate weight from BMI using this formula:
(BMI / 703) x (height in inches x height in inches) = weight in pounds
As an example, if a person were 66 inches tall, and had a BMI of 27, his weight would be (27 / 703) x (66 x 66), which is 0.0384 x 4,356, or 167 pounds.
Check your results. Enter the height and weight into this formula to convert to BMI:
weight in pounds / (height in inches x height in inches) x 703 = BMI
The answer should be the BMI you started with. (Note that you may have to round the answer up or down to get a whole number.) If the BMI is different, there is an error in your calculations.
BMI values represent points within categories that describe how close an individual is to the ideal height/weight ratio for adults. The World Health Organization defines eight categories, from severe thinness to obese class III.
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- University of Michigan: Definitions
- Cornell University: Body Mass Index
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How is BMI Calculated and Interpreted?
- Fryar CD, Gu Q, Ogden CL, Flegal KM. Anthropometric Reference Data for Children and Adults: United States, 2011-2014. Vital Health Stat 3. 2016;(39):1-46.
- Our World in Data. Human Height.
- Statline. Lifestyle, preventive screening; sex, age; 2010-2013.
- Mamidi RS, Kulkarni B, Singh A. Secular trends in height in different states of India in relation to socioeconomic characteristics and dietary intakes. Food Nutr Bull. 2011;32(1):23-34. doi:10.1177/156482651103200103
- Deaton A. Height, health, and inequality: the distribution of adult heights in India. Am Econ Rev. 2008;98(2):468–474. doi:10.1257/aer.98.2.468
- Yang XG, Li YP, Ma GS, et al. [Study on weight and height of the Chinese people and the differences between 1992 and 2002]. Zhonghua Liu Xing Bing Xue Za Zhi. 2005;26(7):489-93.
- Fryar CD, Gu Q, Ogden CL, Flegal KM. Anthropometric reference data for children and adults: United States, 2011–2014. National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health Stat 3(39). 2016.
- Hathaway ML. Trends in Heights and Weights. Yearbook of Agriculture, 1959.
- Stoudt HW, Damon A, Mcfarland R, Roberts J. Weight, Height, and Selected Body Dimensions of Adults. United States - 1960 -1962. Data from the National Health Survey. Series 11. No. 8.
- BMI values represent points within categories that describe how close an individual is to the ideal height/weight ratio for adults. The World Health Organization defines eight categories, from severe thinness to obese class III.
David Robinson has written professionally since 2000. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the Royal Meteorological Society. He has written for the "Telegraph" and "Guardian" newspapers in the U.K., government publications, websites, magazines and school textbooks. He holds an honors Bachelor of Arts in geography and education and a teaching certificate from Durham University, England.