Gentlemen’s reserve. Huh?

A glimpse of body mass index percentile charts for men

A chart showing the Body Mass Index of Adult men, at various ages. It’s not something you see every day. So what does it mean? What’s interesting?

Mens BMI chart

Hector Hector
What is the average BMI?

Brittany Brittany
It’s on the chart red line, 50th percentile.

Talking Moose Talking Moose
And written in a table at the bottom of this page.


Notice the 50th percentile Red line, which indicates the "median" BMI value. Compare it to a BMI of 25, which the CDC defines a &quot Overweight". You’ll see that over 50 percent of American Men have a BMI over 25.

Also notice that Men’s body mass index gradually increases with Age, until after age 50 to 60, when a gradual decline occurs. Each percentile line has a curved shape, even for skinny people at 25th and 10th percentiles. I believe this shows that it is "natural" for some weight gain to occur during adult life.

The chart shows how older children’s (boys) BMI increases up to age 20, (and keeps on increasing after that). This data came from the standard CDC growth charts. There is a gap between the children’s and adults data, because the data sources are different. The adult data (from the NHANES III survey) comes from recent data ( 1988-1994 ) whereas the CDC body-mass-index-for-age charts are derived from a mix of data from new and older sources.

For comparison purposes, this page (below) also shows a Women’s body mass index chart. Do you notice a few differences between men and women? At less than 50th percentile, men have a higher BMI than women, likely because men tend to have more skeletal muscle mass. But after age 30, for the 50th percentiles or higher, women have a higher BMI level at each percentile line.

Womens BMI chart


The table below shows actual numbers for median Body Mass Index of American men.

The “National Average” Median Body Mass Index values for Men:
Age: 20-29 yrs 30-39 yrs 40-49 yrs 50-59 yrs 60-69 yrs
Median BMI:







Surf onward to:

January 29, 2015 update. If you are over age 50, which is still considered fairly young in medical terms, you ought to look at this page, reviewing the scientific proof that having a BMI of 25 to 30 is most healthy, and should not be called overweight.

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