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Body Mass Index (BMI)

More About Body Mass Index (BMI)

This animation shows a comparison of the change in BMI for a given height and varying weights. It also shows why BMI is inaccurate for muscular people. 

Body Mass Index (BMI) Background

Body Mass Index, or BMI, is a commonly-used measure of obesity. The animation shows a range of weights at a given height (5' 10"), and shows the points at which a person is classified as "overweight" or "obese." In addition, it shows one of the problems with using a simple measurement of height and weight to determine obesity: a very muscular person can have a BMI that would categorize him or her as obese.

From Lecture One of the 2004 Holiday Lectures Series "The Science of Fat."

Body Mass Index (BMI) Teaching Tips

The animations in this section have a wide variety of classroom applications. Use the tips below to get started but look for more specific teaching tips in the near future. Please tell us how you are using the animations in your classroom by sending e-mail to biointeractive@hhmi.org.

  1. Use the animations to make abstract scientific ideas visible and concrete.
  2. Explain important scientific principles through the animations. For example, the biological clocks animations can be used to demonstrate the fundamentals of transcription and translation.
  3. Make sure that students learn the material by repeating sections of the animations as often as you think necessary to reinforce underlying scientific principles. You can start, restart, and play back sections of the animations.
  4. Urge students to use the animations in accordance with their own learning styles. Students who are more visually oriented can watch the animations first and read the text later, while others might prefer to read the explanations first and then view the graphics.
  5. Incorporate the animations into Web-based learning modules that you create to supplement your classroom curricula.
  6. Encourage students to incorporate the animations into their own Web-based projects.


The 2004 Holiday Lectures Series "The Science of Fat"

BMI Credits

Director: Dennis Liu, Ph.D.

Scientific Direction: Jeffrey Friedman, M.D., Ph. D.

Scientific Content: Satoshi Amagai, Ph.D.

Animator: Eric Keller

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