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Body Mass Index (BMI)

What is BMI?

BMI is a measure to assess your body weight in relation to your height.

How does one calculate BMI?


Weight (kg)
Height (m) x Height (m)

What is the classification of BMI?

If your BMI (kg/m²) is You are
< 18.5 Underweight
18.5 – 24.9 Desirable weight
30 or more Obese
30 atau lebih Kelebihan berat badan

Do you know that being overweight or underweight can increase your risk of health problems?

  • Research shows that excess weight is a serious health problem for many people, increasing their risk of developing a number of serious illnesses, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, and high blood pressure.
  • The good news is that getting and maintaining weight within the desirable weight range through healthy eating and regular physical activity can help prevent these illnesses.

When do you consider yourself underweight?

If your BMI is below 18.5, you are underweight.

What happens when one is underweight?

  • Underweight increase one’s risk of health problems.
  • Being underweight is linked with heart problems, lowered resistance to infection, chronic fatigue, anaemia, depression and other illnesses.

How does one gain weight in a healthy way?

  • Aim for a gradual weight gain, which should be about 1 to 2 kilogram per month. You should aim for a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 kg/m².
  • Manage your weight healthily:
    • Practise healthy eating practice, Choose and eat a variety of foods daily as guided by the Malaysian Food Pyramid.
    • Avoid skipping meals.
    • Plan ahead for extra meals. To gain weight, you may need to eat more nutritions foods.
    • Snack smartly by choosing nutrient-densed snacks that add calories, vitamins and minerals.
    • Check your energy requirement. Don’t forget that you need to indicate what your physical activity level is in order to calculate your daily energy requirement.
    • Refer to the sample menu. Choose the menu that suits your daily calorie requirement.

What is a healthy weight?

  • A healthy weight falls within BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 kg/m².
  • Studies have shown that people whose BMI are within this range tend to live longer than people who have lower or higher BMI.

How do I maintain my normal body weight?

  • Balance the food that you eat with physical activity.
  • Check your energy requirement.
  • Do more physical activity. If you are already very active, try to continue the same level of activity suitable to your age.

When is one considered overweight?

You are overweight if your BMI is between 25.0 to 30.0. If your BMI is 30 or more, you are classified as obese.

How can you lose weight?

  • Weight yourself once a week, preferably before meal.
  • Set a realistic target to reduce half kilogram of body weight per week.
  • Check your energy requirement.
  • Eat normal, reasonable, moderate amounts of nutritious foods based on the Malaysian Food Pyramid.
  • Don’t ever diet or restrict calories when you are really hungry. If you do, you will tend to binge later.
  • Do some diet modification.
  • Reduce or avoid foods high in sugar and fat such as butter, cream, fatty meat, salad dressing, rich cake and pastries.
  • Avoid eating and drinking while watching television or reading. Do some moderate intensity exercise (example: brisk walking, cycling and swimming) for at least 30 minutes on at least five to six days a week.
  • Consult the dietician or nutritionist for further weight management.
  • Consult a doctor to identify and correct any underlying medical, biological, or physiological problems contributing to excess weight.
  • Find a support system. Friends are great; so are support groups.


WHO. Obesity: Preventing and managing the global epidemic. Report on a WHO Consultation on Obesity, Geneva, 3-5 June 1997.

The American Dietetics Association, 1999. Proper weight measurement

Last Reviewed : 19 April 2012
Writer : Jamilah bt. Ahmad
: Surainee bt. Wahab
: Azlinda bt. Hamid
: Munawara bt. Pardi