Body Mass Index (BMI) & Waist Circumference

Body Mass Index

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measure of how much body weight you have for your height. A BMI value of 25.0-29.9 means you are overweight and a value ≥30.0 means you are obese. Overweight and obesity are major risk factors for several major chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and cancer.

To check your BMI, measure and record your weight in kilograms and your height in metres. BMI is calculated as: weight / (height)2

You can check it at home, or at your next checkup. Talk with your health care provider about your results. Go to BMI calculator.

Waist Circumference

Measuring waist circumference helps with screening for possible health risks that are associated with overweight and obesity. An abnormally high waist circumference (especially in comparison with your hips) means that most of your fat is around your waist. This puts you at greater risk for type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

Abnormal Waist Circumference Measurement


>94cm (37in)


>80cm (32in)

You can measure your waist circumference at home (or at your next health check) using a tape measure:

  • Stand and place a tape measure above your hip bones, around the middle of your abdomen
  • Make sure the tape measure is horizontal around the waist, and level with your belly button
  • Keep the tape measure snug around the waist, but not too tight
  • Check the number on the tape measure just after you breathe out

If you have a high waist circumference, you may want to talk with your doctor about losing weight and changing your lifestyle.