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Is a BMI of 29 good or bad?

Is a BMI of 29 good or bad?

A BMI of 29 is in the upper end of the overweight category for body mass index scores, meaning that people with a 29 BMI are in danger of becoming obese.

As we’ve explained before, BMI doesn’t directly measure your body fat percentage or levels of lean mass, which is its main limitation.

Because of this, unless a given BMI is really high or really low, you can’t make concrete judgments about a person’s body composition based on their BMI score.

For example, it is theoretically possible (though admittedly very unlikely) to have a BMI of 29 while being very lean if you have exceptionally high amounts of muscle mass.

Related BMI Articles:

Is a BMI of 29 bad for a woman?

A female with a BMI of 29

Is a BMI of 29 bad for a woman? Yes, a BMI of 29 is bad for a woman because a body mass index of 29 strongly suggests that a female is carrying too much body fat.

While a 29 BMI score is bad from a health perspective, it’s actually a very normal score for women in the sense that it’s common (not in the sense of it being in the “normal” BMI range).

Of course, given the risk of obesity, having a high BMI, despite unfortunately being normal, is definitely not a good thing. [1]

Although some women certainly have plenty of muscle mass and a large build, this lean mass alone is very unlikely to explain a body mass index as high as twenty-nine.

Is a 29 BMI bad for a man?

Is 29 BMI bad

Is a 29 BMI bad for a man? Although a BMI of 29 is typical for adult males, a body mass index of 29 is still too high for the vast majority of men to be healthy.

While there might be some exceptions—rugby players, weight lifters, heavyweight boxers—the vast majority of men who register a 29 BMI score are carrying excess body fat.

Sure, you can have a decent amount of muscle mass on your frame while having a BMI of 29, but muscle size alone is unlikely to explain such a high BMI for most men.

What does a person with a BMI of 29 look like?

A BMI 29 woman exercising outside

Because of BMI’s inability to directly measure body composition, it’s simply not possible to say for certain what a BMI of 29 looks like. 

Now, the higher or lower a given body mass index score is, the easier it is to estimate what that BMI would look like. Why?

Because if your BMI is really high, then 99% of the time, it’s because you have too much fat.

Likewise, if someone has a very low BMI, then we can safely assume that they lack muscle mass and probably don’t have that much body fat either.

All things considered, I’d say that a 29 BMI is high to the point where virtually everyone with a BMI this high is going to have too much adipose tissue (i.e., body fat).

BMI 29 subcategories

bmi in letters next to fitness gear

While these BMI 29 scores are all very similar, it can be helpful to know how your precise BMI score stacks up.

29.1 BMI

A BMI of 29.1 is on the upper end of the overweight body mass index classification and is a strong indication that a person has excess adiposity.

29.2 BMI

If you’ve got a BMI of 29.2, then it’s very likely that you need to lose weight, which you can do by restricting your calories and performing regular exercise.

29.3 BMI

A 29.3 BMI is definitely high for both women and men. If you’ve got a BMI of 29.3, then you’ll likely experience health improvements by losing weight.

29.4 BMI

If you have a BMI of 29.4, then you’re close to being obese. But if your body fat is pretty high as well, then it’s probably more accurate to say that you are obese if you have a 29.4 BMI.

29.5 BMI

A 29.5 BMI, although fairly normal for adults, is much too high for a person to enjoy their best health. As such, losing weight in a sustainable manner is the way to go if you have a BMI of 29.5.

29.6 BMI

A 29.6 BMI is excessive for the vast majority of people (unless they’re fairly lean with a lot of muscle mass). A BMI of 29.6 is less than half a BMI point away from being considered obese.

29.7 BMI

If you have a 29.7 BMI, then you’re extremely close to being classified as obese based on your weight in relation to your height.

29.8 BMI

While a person with a BMI of 29.8 can have good levels of muscle mass, muscle alone is not likely to result in a 29.8 BMI. In other words, nearly everyone this heavy has too much adipose tissue.

29.9 BMI

A 29.9 BMI is the final BMI score in the overweight category, after which you’ll be considered obese. For this reason, males and females who have a BMI of 29.9 should try to lower their weight.

The verdict: Is a 29 BMI good or bad for males and females?

In the vast majority of cases, a BMI of 29 is not good for men and women because it’s indicative that a person is close to being obese.

The good news is that research suggests that with the right interventions, obese people can lose weight. [2]

Just make sure that you don’t try to lose as much weight as possible in the first few weeks; otherwise, you risk piling it back on by trying to maintain an unrealistic weight loss velocity.


  1. Kivimäki, M., Strandberg, T., Pentti, J., Nyberg, S. T., Frank, P., Jokela, M., Ervasti, J., Suominen, S. B., Vahtera, J., Sipilä, P. N., Lindbohm, J. V., & Ferrie, J. E. (2022). Body-mass index and risk of obesity-related complex multimorbidity: an observational multicohort study. The Lancet Diabetes &Amp; Endocrinology, 10(4), 253–263.
  2. Barte, J. C., Veldwijk, J., Teixeira, P. J., Sacks, F. M., & Bemelmans, W. J. (2014). Differences in weight loss across different BMI classes: a meta-analysis of the effects of interventions with diet and exercise. International journal of behavioral medicine21(5), 784–793.