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How to Gauge Your BMI by Measuring Your Neck

Measure the circumference of your neck, and use the measurement to determine your BMI.


  • Step 1: Find measurement tape Find a flexible measuring tape marked with inches.
  • Step 2: Pinpoint the largest girth Hold your head erect, with chin up, in a standing position and locate the widest part of your neck.
  • TIP: Zero in on the larynx, or Adam's apple, which is typically the widest part of most people's necks.
  • Step 3: Take the measurement Wrap the tape around the widest part of your neck so there is no slack but don't squeeze your neck with the tape.
  • Step 4: Interpret your results Ask your doctor for advice on a healthy neck circumference cut-off for your body type and activity level. As a guide, 18-year-old boys' necks should measure no more than 15.4 inches, while girls of the same age should measure no more than 13.6 inches around the neck. Measurements greater than these would likely indicate a body mass index of 25 or more, which is overweight.
  • Step 5: Act on knowledge Recognize that a too-wide neck circumference is associated with obesity-related conditions such as sleep apnea, diabetes, and hypertension. Avoid the life-threatening complications of obesity by seeing your doctor for a diet and exercise plan that works for you.
  • FACT: In 2009, Rocky Mountain Health Plans denied newborn Alex Lange insurance because he was deemed "too fat" by guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control. They later retracted their decision.

You Will Need

  • Flexible measuring tape
  • Doctor
  • Diet and exercise plan

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