Body mass excess

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Body mass excess


The body mass excess with respect to the healthy reference population, HRP, is defined as BME ≝ m/m°. A balanced BME is BME°=1.0. Considering a height of 1.7 m, overweight (body mass index, BMI=25) is reached at a weight gain of 25 % (BME=1.25); obesity and severe obesity (BMI=30 and 35) are reached at a weight gain of 50 % and 75 % (BME=1.5 and 1.75, respectively).

Abbreviation: BME

Reference: Gnaiger 2019 MiP2019

BME - the body mass excess calculator

» BME calculator
Gnaiger E last update 2019-11-12
The BME calculator will be updated, integrating the WHO database on children, according to the tables listed below.
  1. Open the BME calculator by clicking here (press Ctrl and left mouse click): BME calculator
  2. Click into the field Height, h [m] and enter your height in meters (not cm), using the dot (not the comma) as a separator for decimal places. Example: 1.70
  3. Click into the field Body mass, m [kg] and enter your mass (weight) in kilograms (not pounds), using the dot (not the comma) as a separator for decimal places. Example: 63.4
  4. Click into the field Click here for results. This activates the caclulator. Results are displayed in the fields below.
    1. The Body mass excess, BME is calculated from your height and body mass. Example: 1.1 (With a BME of 1.1 you are 10 % above the reference body mass, which is well within the normal range.) The percentage is calculated as (BME-1)*100.
    2. For comparison with a commonly used index, the Body mass index, BMI is calculated from your body mass divided by your height squared. Example: 21.9 (What does this index tell you?)
    3. The Reference body mass, m° is calculated from your height and shows the corresponding body mass of a person from the healthy reference population. Example: 57.6 (You can compare this reference body mass of 57.6 kg with your measured body mass of 63.4 kg.)
    4. The Overweight body mass, m+ and Obese body mass, m++ are calculated from the reference body mass. You can compare these limiting values with your actual body mass. Example: 72.0 (Equal or more than 72.0 kg is rated as overweight for a height of 1.70 m with BME=1.25.); 86.4 (Equal or more than 86.4 kg is rated as obese for a height of 1.70 m with BME=1.50.)
  5. If you want to edit your height or body mass entered above, click into the corresponding field, delete the previously entered number, enter the new number, and click into the field Click here for results.

Body mass excess (BME) compared to body mass index (BMI)

  • Balanced standard: BME = 1.0
  • Overweight: BME ≥ 1.25
  • Obese: BME ≥ 1.5
For 0.45 to 1.4 m heights (newborns, children and adolescents), the tables are based on WHO data [8, 9] compiled from Brazil, Ghana, India, Norway, Oman and the USA, reporting merelely 3 % differences between these groups, and less than 2 % differences between girls and boys.
For heights of 1.3 m and above, the tables are based on a database for Caucasians (whites with European origin), compiled from publications between 1931 to 1944 [3-7]. These agree with WHO [9] within 1 % at the height of >1.3 m, and agree on noting no differences between females and males.

BME at height 0.45 - 0.62 m

Based on WHO [9]: m° = 28.60·h3.086
BME 0.45-0.62.png

BME at height 0.63 - 1.09 m

Based on WHO [9]: m° = 15.17·h1.726
BME 0.63-1.09.png

BME at height 1.1 - 1.29 m

Based on WHO [9]: m° = 14.73·h2.245
BME 1.1-1.29.png

BME at height 1.3 - 1.49 m

Based on Biological Handbooks [9]: m° = 12.68·h2.857
BME 1.3-1.49.png

BME at height 1.5 - 1.69 m

Based on Biological Handbooks [9]: m° = 12.68·h2.857
BME 1.5-1.69.png

BME at height 1.7 - 1.89 m

Based on Biological Handbooks [9]: m° = 12.68·h2.857
BME 1.7-1.89.png

BME at height 1.9 - 2.1 m

Based on Biological Handbooks [9]: m° = 12.68·h2.857
BME 1.9-2.1.png


  1. Gnaiger E (2019) OXPHOS capacity in human muscle tissue and body mass excess – the MitoEAGLE mission towards an integrative database. 14th Conference on Mitochondrial Physiology: Mitochondrial function: changes during life cycle and in noncommunicable diseases - COST MitoEAGLE perspectives and MitoEAGLE WG and MC Meeting. Belgrade RS, 13-16 Oct 2019. - »Bioblast link«
  2. Zucker TF (1962) Regression of standing and sitting weights on body weight: man. In: Altman PL, Dittmer DS, eds: Growth including reproduction and morphological development. Committee on Biological Handbooks, Fed Amer Soc Exp Biol:336-7. – Anthropometry, h and m°, of the healthy reference population, HRP; based on [3-7].
  3. Bayley N, Davis FC (1935) Growth changes in bodily size and proportions during the first three years. Biometrika 27:26-87.
  4. Gray H, Ayres JG (1931) Growth in private school children. Behavior Res Fund Monog, Univ Chicago Press, Chicago:282 pp. – With averages and variabilities based on 3110 measurings on boys and 1473 on girls from the ages of one to nineteen years.
  5. Meredith HV (1935) Univ Iowa studies in child welfare 11(3).
  6. Peatman JG, Higgons RA (1938) Growth norms from birth to the age of five years: a study of children reared with optimal pediatric and home care. Am J Diseases Children 55:1233-1247.
  7. Simmons KW (1944) Monographs Soc Research in Child Develop 9(1).
  8. WHO Multicentre Growth Reference Study Group (2006) WHO child growth standards based on length/height, weight and age. Acta Pædiatrica Suppl 450:76-85.
  9. WHO Multicentre Growth Reference Study Group (2006) WHO child growth standards: length/height-for-age, weight-for-age, weight-for-length, weight-for-height and body mass index-for-age: Methods and development. Geneva: World Health Organization:312 pp.