Body mass index (BMI)

The body mass index (BMI) is a well-established measure to see if your weight is reasonable for your height. BMI can be raised in well-muscled, fit individuals and for this reason it is also very important to consider body fat percentage alongside the BMI for an overall assessment of body composition.

South Asian and Chinese adults, who have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes than white populations are advised to maintain a BMI lower than the standard 25. For these groups, a BMI score of 23 or more means an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Black people and other minority groups are also advised to maintain a BMI below 25 to reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes.

Body fat percentage

The chart shows how your body is composed, or proportion of fat and lean tissue in your body. If the balance of fat to lean tissue is too high, this can increase your risk of certain types of health problems like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease.

Waist-height ratio

The distribution of excess fat is also important. Too much fat around the middle (so-called “apple shaped”) is a major risk for heart disease. This can be assessed by looking at the ratio of the waist circumference, which can be improved by lifestyle changes, to the height, which is relatively constant.