The BMI calculator for females is actually the same as for males, which is one of the reasons people sometimes question the validity of its use for everyone over the age of 20. However, regardless of the critics, the BMI or Body Mass Index is still a good way to get a general overview of your health and whether you are overweight (or underweight) for your height.

To calculate your BMI you need to know your height and weight. You can do this using pounds and inches or kilograms and meters, whichever you are most familiar with.

Kilograms are simpler, so let’s start there. Take your height in meters and multiply it by itself. So, if you are 1.6 meters, you will calculate 1.6 x 1.6 which equals 2.56. Next take your weight in kilos and divide by that multiplication figure. So, if you are 75 kilos, divide by 2.56 and your BMI is 29.29.

The calculation for pounds and inches is very similar. Multiply your height in inches by itself. Take your weight in pounds and divide by that multiplication, then multiply that figure by 703.

A healthy BMI is considered to be between 20 and 25. Under 18.5 you are considered underweight, while between 25 and 30 would be overweight. A BMI score over 30 puts you in the obese category.

Based on our calculation above that means you would fall in the top end of the overweight category, but just because you fall outside the healthy number range doesn’t mean you have a problem. For example, the BMI cannot tell the difference between muscle and fat, and if you have a BMI higher than 25 but have a lot of muscle and very little fat, you are not likely to be overweight or obese.

The BMI calculator for females is not terribly accurate for determining the overall percentage of fat in the body and was developed as a simple way to determine body fat in large groups of people. We are all different shapes and sizes so make sure you use it as a quick reference only. If you want a more accurate determination of your health, consult a doctor or health professional. Many gyms will offer skin fold tests to calculate your body fat more precisely.

Remember, take your BMI result as an indication of how much body fat you have but don’t rely on it as the final word on your health.