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What is the Asian BMI and the Ideal Weight for an Asian?

by | May 5, 2021

Asian BMI and Ideal Asian Weight - BMICalculator.Live

What is an Asian BMI?

An Asian BMI is a BMI result from an Asian individual interpreted using the suitable BMI ranges adjusted for Asian populations (see the Asian BMI range below).

Why the BMI needs to be adjusted for Asians?

Asians have higher weight-related disease risks at lower BMIs than their counterpart. As a result, the BMI cut points for Asians differ from the conventional ones to capture the risk of diabetes more appropriately.

Scientific studies have shown that Asian people have a low prevalence of overweight/obesity based on standard BMI cutpoints, yet they also have higher rates of diabetes. One possible explanation is body fat. Compared to white Europeans of the same BMI, Asians have 3 to 5 percent higher total body fat. South Asians, in particular, exhibit higher than average body fat levels making them more prone to developing health issues.

What is the right BMI for Asian Women?  

A healthy BMI for Asian women or Asian American women is a BMI within the range of 18.5 – 22.9. The right BMI for Asian men is also between 18.5 and 22.9.

What is a healthy BMI for Asian People?  

In short, any fully-grown Asian individual with a BMI of 18.5 – 22.9 is considered healthy from a BMI criteria point of view. Such classification excludes athletic individuals who exhibit a standard but higher-than-average prevalence of muscle mass. To a lesser extent, non-athletic but fit individuals having a BMI slightly above the recommendation are not necessarily unhealthy.


 Proposed WHO Asian BMI cut-off points

WHO Asian-BMI classification

Source: WHO Report – Redefining Obesity and Treatment – Page 18

Credits Photo: An Epidemiological Study of Overweight and Obesity Among Women in an Urban Area of North India


For example, the fit lady on the left below has a higher BMI than the one on the right due to a higher muscular density. Despite this higher BMI, it does not mean she is not as healthy as the person on the right. She is actually fitter!

Importance of context for BMI Interpretation: the lady on the left is fitter despite her higher BMI

What is the Ideal Weight for an Asian girl?

From a health perspective, the ideal weight for an Asian girl is a weight that yields a BMI between 18.5 and 22.9.

Use this reverse BMI calculator to see what might be a healthy weight for you and how much weight you may have to lose!

Asian girls can range in size and weight, and having a BMI in the healthy Asian-adjusted BMI range is an excellent asset from a health perspective. Whether you’re from an Asian ethnicity or not, putting yourself on the right track is always a good idea if your BMI is considered unhealthy. If this is your case, find out how to reduce BMI quickly here and confidently start your weight loss journey.

How does an Asian woman with an Ideal BMI for an Asian look?

Beauty appreciation is up to each individual’s sensitivity and judgment. Below is a picture of what is considered a gold standard for an Asian woman regarding BMI. The ideal BMI for an Asian adult woman is between 18.5 and 22.9. This fit Asian lady exhibits a BMI of 19.5 and a waist circumference way lower than 80 cm, putting her in the very healthy category.

What the BMI gold standard for Asian women looks like - BMICalculator.Live

In addition to having an ideal BMI, other metrics and criteria attempt to define how the perfect Asian body should look like. If your Asian body is not considered ideal from a health point of view, don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Being healthy is essential, but being happy is necessary too!

Life should not be only about getting a perfect weight! Many factors go into how someone could look or feel their best, so don’t forget to consult with professionals before making significant changes to your diet.

Is an Asian person with a Healthy Asian BMI at risk?

Even with a healthy Asian BMI, an individual with excessive fat around the abdomen is still at risk for heart disease and diabetes. For Asians and Asian Americans, the waist circumference benchmarks below have to be considered. 

Healthy waist circumferences for Asian people

Asian Women Asian Men
Equals or less than 80cm (31.5 in) Equals or less than 90cm (35.5 in)


For Asian-ethnicity people, it’s essential to remember that having a BMI score within the  Asian-adjusted BMI range of  18.5 to 22.9 does not guarantee the absence of health risks. If your waist circumference is above those recommended waist sizes, it is advised to consult a professional even if your Asian-adjusted BMI is considered healthy.

What is the BMI cut-off point for Asian people according to the WHO?  

Experts have been consulted on the Asian BMI cut-off point beyond which the BMI is considered unhealthy for Asian people. A study led by the WHO concluded that the proportion of Asian people with a high risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease is substantial at BMIs lower than the existing regular WHO cut-off point usually used to define overweight (25 kg/m2).

The BMI cut-off points defining overweight for Asians vary between 22kg/m2 and 25kg/m2. Indeed, in this particular WHO study about the Asian BMI, available data do not necessarily indicate a clear Asian BMI cut-off point. However, the unhealthy Asian BMI cut-off value of 22.9kg/m2 is commonly used as a standard to define overweight individuals using BMI among the Asian population.

Calculate your Asian BMI  

Get your Asian BMI with this BMI Calculator and interpret your BMI results with the information provided and adjusted explicitly for Asian people. If you know your ideal BMI, calculate your ideal weight and weight loss target with this easy reverse BMI calculator.

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