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THEbody mass index or BMI (in English, body mass index or BMI) is a quantity which makes it possible to estimate the corpulence of a person (from 18 to 65 years old). Invented in the middle of the XNUMXth century by Adolphe Quetelet, Belgian mathematician, one of the founders of modern statistics, this index is also called the Quetelet index. It is calculated based on height and body mass.

Body Mass Index (BMI)Interpretation (according to WHO)
less than 18,5Underweight (thinness)
18,5 to 25Normal build
25 to 30overweight
30 to 35Moderate obesity
35 to 40Severe obesity
more 40Morbid or massive obesity


The BMI calculation is based on an identical formula for men for women. Likewise, the BMI calculation does not take age into account. The calculation of the BMI and that of the waist circumference are “complementary”. The waist circumference is measured with a tape measure in centimeters (cm). Abdominal obesity is defined according to the recommendations of the High Authority of Health, namely a waist size greater than 94 cm for men and greater than 80 cm for women.
It should also be known that the calculation of the body mass index does not take into account the distribution of fluids in bone, muscle and fat masses in the body.
In a person of normal build, muscle mass represents 35% of the weight in men, 28% of the weight in women.


"Of all the passions, the only truly respectable one seems to me to be gluttony".

Guy de Maupassant