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What is BMI?

BMI stands for Body Mass Index. It is used a measure of body fat in adults and help assess whether you are at risk for weight-related health problems. A healthy BMI for adults is between 18.5 and 22.9.

You measure your BMI as shown:

Body Mass Index

When BMI values do not apply

BMI values DO NOT APPLY TO children, pregnant women, people with muscular build (little body fat) eg athletes, elderly and those who have lost a lot of muscle mass.

Why do I need to know my BMI?

Recent studies have shown that some Asian population, including Singaporeans have higher proportion of body fat compared to Caucasians of the same age, gender and BMI. The risk for heart disease and diabetes starts from BMI values of 23. The table below shows your risk:

If your BMI is between 23.0 and 27.4 kg/m², you are at moderate risk of developing these chronic diseases

  • heart disease
  • high blood pressure
  • stroke
  • diabetes


If your BMI is 27.5 kg/m² and above, you are at high risk of developing these chronic diseases.

  • heart disease
  • high blood pressure
  • stroke
  • diabetes


If your BMI is less than 18.5 kg/m², you are at risk of developing problems such as

  • nutritional deficiency
  • osteoporosis.

How do I achieve a healthy BMI of 18.5 to 22.9?

BMI below 18.5kg/m²

Eat a well balanced diet, including high-energy and nutrient-rich food, and exercise regularly

 BMI above 23kg/m²

Eat a well balanced diet, low in fat, and engage in regular physical activity to lose weight gradually.

Reduce your risk – Eat healthily

You gain weight and increase your BMI if you consistently consume more calories than you use up through physical activity.

  • Avoid high-calorie foods like cakes, pastries and soft drinks.
  • Avoid snacking.
  • Eat in moderation.
  • Use healthier cooking methods ( eg. Steam, grill, bake, stir-fry with minimum oil) to prepare your meals.
  • Eat a healthy balanced diet with at least 2 servings of fruit and 2 servings of vegetables everyday

Look for the Healthier Choice Symbol when you are shopping for food items as these products lower in fat, saturated fat and sodium.

Reduce your risk: Get Moving!

Regular physical activity helps you

  • use up excess calories which would otherwise be stored as fat
  • build healthy bones, muscles and joints
  • manage stress and anxiety
  • feel good about yourself

Start with moderate-intensity physical activity (eg.brisk walking, leisurely cycling, taking stairs rather than elevator) for 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week or more.

The 30 minutes of physical activity can be broken up into 10minute bouts throughout the day.

As your fitness level improves, do vigorous physical activity (eg. jogging, soccer, basketball, scrubbing floors at home) for 20 minutes a day at least 3 times a week.

To lose weight sensibly

  • Check your BMI
  • Set a realistic target. Lose no more than 0.5 to 1.0 kg a week.
  • Eat a balanced diet, low in fat.
  • Exercise regularly
  • Avoid slimming teas, drugs and pills unless prescribed by a doctor.
  • Aim for long-term sustained weight control, rather than short-term rapid weight loss.

Above information taken from:

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