The Meaning of BMI: What It Is and How To Use It

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A doctor can take many measures when trying to get a picture of someone’s health. One of these scales of measurement is called BMI. What does BMI stand for, and how do doctors use it? 

This article will define BMI as it relates to the medical industry. Then, it will provide you with additional definitions of BMI. Keep reading to learn all about BMI.

What Does BMI Mean?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institutes of Health, BMI stands for body mass index. This is a screening tool that a health care provider can use to monitor patients to make sure they maintain a healthy weight and to ensure a person’s weight is not contributing to health risk factors.

While a high BMI percentile or a low BMI do not necessarily mean that someone is unhealthy, it can mean that their body weight could contribute to having a higher risk for health conditions like type 2 diabetes, hypertension, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, heart disease, and more. Conversely, being overweight and underweight can each contribute to health problems.

Doctors can also look at weight range and sudden shifts in weight gain or weight loss. Severe, fast changes to body composition can be a sign that something is wrong if it is not from additional physical activity or a gain in muscle mass. A doctor might also take a measure of body fat and waist size to get a complete picture of a person’s weight and health.

It can also be normal for adolescents to fluctuate in normal weight and adiposity due to growth. A heavy focus on teen BMI and waist size can contribute to eating disorders in young people. For many teens, it is normal to gain excess weight as the body adapts to new hormones, which level out as they grow older.

Ultimately, health professionals have decided BMI is not an accurate measurement of health — many measurements go into a holistic depiction of one’s health, not just their body weight. For example, muscle weighs more than fat, so perfectly healthy muscular individuals may have a higher BMI than someone of a similar height and stature. This is just one example of how BMI can be an inaccurate indicator of health.

What Are Other Meanings of BMI?

Outside of the medical field, BMI has several other potential definitions. For example, if somebody uses the acronym BMI but they are not talking about health, weight, or body fat, they might be using one of the below definitions. Take a look at this list of meanings of BMI from The Free Dictionary to learn more.

Meanings of BMI in Technology

BMI can have several meanings in technology!

  • Begin Managed Introduction
  • Biomedical Informatics (various universities)
  • Broadcast Music Inc.
  • Basic Metaphor of Infinity (mathematics book)
  • Bare Metal Installation (software)
  • Behaviour Monitoring and Interpretation (workshop)
  • Bibliothèque de Recherche Mathématiques et Informatique (French: Mathematics and Computer Science Research Library; University of Bordeaux; Bordeaux, France)
  • Bilinear Matrix Inequalities
  • Business Metrics of Interest
  • Branch If Minus
  • Batch Mode Input

Meanings of BMI in Government

If you work for state, federal, or local government, you might see BMI stand for one of the below definitions:

  • Border Management Initiative (war)
  • Bourse de Mobilité Internationale (French: International Mobility Grant; scholarship)
  • Central Illinois Regional Airport at Bloomington-Normal (FAA)
  • Basic Marksmanship Instruction
  • Bundesministerium des Innern (German: Federal Ministry of the Interior)

Meanings of BMI in Science

Scientists can use BMI with the following definitions:

  • Baltimore Marine Industries (environmental contractor)
  • Brain-Machine Interface
  • Bone Measurement Institute
  • Benthic Macroinvertebrates
  • Bismaleimide Resin
  • Beraja Medical Institute (Florida)
  • Biochemistry, Microbiology, and Immunology (education)
  • Institutt for Biokjemi Og Molekylærbiologi (Norwegian: Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; University of Bergen)

Meanings of BMI in Business

Businesspeople can use BMI to stand for several meanings:

  • Broadcast Musicians Inc.
  • Broadcast Music Incorporated (music licensing company; competes with ASCAP)
  • Brand Marketing Investment (various companies)
  • Business Management Intern
  • Big Mac Index (Economist)
  • British Midland Airways, Ltd. (airline)
  • Business Market Intelligence (various locations)
  • Bell Mobility Investments
  • Business Match Inc (Columbia, MD)
  • Bankmark, Inc.
  • Bristol Microfilm & Imaging Services, Ltd.
  • Benjamin Media, Inc. (Peninsula, OH)
  • Berkeley Manufacturing Institute
  • Bregusa Micro International
  • Bradley Morris, Inc. (Kennesaw, GA)
  • Buxton Motorsports, Inc.
  • Behavioural Management, Inc.
  • Buruh Migran Indonesia (Indonesian: Indonesian Migrant Workers)
  • Broadcast Music Inc. (Atlanta, GA)
  • Bureau Moderne Informatique (French: data processing retailers)
  • Baltic Management Institute
  • Bouclage Mécanique Industriel (French: Industrial Mechanical Closure; Saint-Lubin-de-la-Haye, France)
  • Business Marketability Index
  • Business Marketing International (education fair organizer)
  • Bullion Merchants Ireland (Galway, Ireland)
  • Business Monitor International
  • Building Maintenance Information (UK)
  • Brand Management International (Israel)
  • Bug Music Inc

Meanings of BMI in Organizations

Organizations worldwide might use BMI as an abbreviation for their name or title.

  • British Muslim Initiative (UK)
  • Brain and Mind Institute (Switzerland)
  • Brezen Mesic Internetu (Czech: March Internet Month)
  • Battelle Memorial Institute
  • Bariatric Medical Institute (Canada)
  • Birmingham & Midland Institute
  • Blackaby Ministries International (Atlanta, GA)
  • Bethlehem Mission Immensee (Swiss Catholic missionary organization; Immensee, Switzerland)
  • British Malaysian Institute
  • Bibliothèque Multimédia Intercommunale (French: Intercommunal Media Library)
  • Bagirmi (SIL code, Chad)

Meaning of BMI as Slang

BMI also has a few slang definitions:

  • Big Meteor Information (band)
  • Bad Mental Image
  • Barely Makin’ It
  • Masters of Business Imagination


In conclusion, BMI stands for body mass index. This is a standard scale that people in the medical industry use to compare a person’s weight to the average weight of people in the general populous of the same height. 

While BMI does not provide a complete picture of someone’s health, it can give doctors a sense of if a person might be at a higher risk for certain diseases depending on their weight, whether this is overweight or underweight.


BMI – What Does BMI Stand For? | The Free Dictionary 

About Adult BMI | Healthy Weight, Nutrition, and Physical Activity | CDC

Calculate Your BMI – Metric BMI Calculator | NHLIBI NIH