Body Composition

The Body Mass Index (BMI) is commonly calculated for assessing body composition. It is a ratio of body weight in lbs. to body height in inches. Calculate your BMI in Worksheet 1-3 and compare it to the classifications in Table 1-2.

Worksheet 1-3. Calculate Your BMI

Table 1-2. Classifications for BMI Ratios

Ratio Classification

< 20 Underweight

20-25 Normal

25-30 Overweight

I Body Weight (lbs) Height (inches) I

Reference standards have been developed to identify individuals at risk for being either over- or underweight. However, BMI can misclassify some large frame or muscular people as overweight. It is strictly a ratio and does not necessarily reflect percent body fat accurately. If you feel your BMI incorrectly categorizes you, have your percent body fat measured by a trained professional. Body fat can be determined from a variety of techniques including hydrostatic (underwater) weighing, or from skinfolds and circumference (as done in the Navy) measures.

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