Most people want to know the answer: How much do I weigh? There is no ideal healthy weight for each person, though, because there are a variety of different factors that play a part.
Those include: age, muscle-fat ratio, height, sex, and body-fat, or body-form.
Excess weight can affect the risk of a person having a variety of health conditions including obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular problems.
Not all bearing extra weight develops health issues. Researchers, however, assume that while these extra pounds do not actually have an effect on a person’s safety, a lack of management could lead to potential problems.
Read on to find out about four ways the target weight works out.
Method 1: Body mass index (BMI)
Body mass index (BMI) is a standard method for assessing if a person’s body weight is correct. It tests the weight of a individual relative to his / her height.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH):
- A BMI of less than 18.5 means that a person is underweight.
- A BMI of between 18.5 and 24.9 is ideal.
- A BMI of between 25 and 29.9 is overweight.
- A BMI over 30 indicates obesity.
Weight and height guide chart
The following weight and height chart uses National Institute of Health BMI tables to assess how much a person’s weight should be for his or her height.
|91 to 115 lbs.||119 to 138 lbs.||143 to 186 lbs.||191 to 258 lbs.|
|94 to 119 lbs.||124 to 143 lbs.||148 to 193 lbs.||198 to 267 lbs.|
|97 to 123 lbs.||128 to 148 lbs.||153 to 199 lbs.||204 to 276 lbs.|
|100 to 127 lbs.||132 to 153 lbs.||158 to 206 lbs.||211 to 285 lbs.|
|104 to 131 lbs.||136 to 158 lbs.||164 to 213 lbs.||218 to 295 lbs.|
|107 to 135 lbs.||141 to 163 lbs.||169 to 220 lbs.||225 to 304 lbs.|
|110 to 140 lbs.||145 to 169 lbs.||174 to 227 lbs.||232 to 314 lbs.|
|114 to 144 lbs.||150 to 174 lbs.||180 to 234 lbs.||240 to 324 lbs.|
|118 to 148 lbs.||155 to 179 lbs.||186 to 241 lbs.||247 to 334 lbs.|
|121 to 153 lbs.||159 to 185 lbs.||191 to 249 lbs.||255 to 344 lbs.|
|125 to 158 lbs.||164 to 190 lbs.||197 to 256 lbs.||262 to 354 lbs.|
|128 to 162 lbs.||169 to 196 lbs.||203 to 263 lbs.||270 to 365 lbs.|
|132 to 167 lbs.||174 to 202 lbs.||209 to 271 lbs.||278 to 376 lbs.|
|136 to 172 lbs.||179 to 208 lbs.||215 to 279 lbs.||286 to 386 lbs.|
|140 to 177 lbs.||184 to 213 lbs.||221 to 287 lbs.||294 to 397 lbs.|
|144 to 182 lbs.||189 to 219 lbs.||227 to 295 lbs.||302 to 408 lbs.|
|148 to 186 lbs.||194 to 225 lbs.||233 to 303 lbs.||311 to 420 lbs.|
|152 to 192 lbs.||200 to 232 lbs.||240 to 311 lbs.||319 to 431 lbs.|
|156 to 197 lbs.||205 to 238 lbs.||246 to 320 lbs.||328 to 443 lbs.|
|BMI||19 to 24||25 to 29||30 to 39||40 to 54|
What is the problem with BMI?
BMI is an incredibly easy measurement. Whilst taking height into account, it does not take into account factors such as:
- waist or hip measurements
- proportion or distribution of fat
- proportion of muscle mass
Those, too, may have health consequences.
For starters, high-performance athletes appear to be extremely healthy and have very little body fat. They may have a high BMI, because they have more muscle mass, but that doesn’t mean that they are overweight.
BMI may also provide a general indication of whether a person’s weight is safe or not, and it is useful in demographic research to assess patterns.
However, deciding whether their weight is suitable or not should not be the only step an person can take.
Method 2: Waist-to-hip ratio (WHR)
The ratio of a person’s waist to hip compares their waist size to that of their hips.
Research has shown that people who have more body fat around their middle are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes.
The higher the proportion of the waist measurement to the hips, the greater the risk.
The Waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) is therefore a useful tool for measuring whether a person has a healthy weight and height.
Measure your waist-to-hip ratio
1. Measure around the waist in the narrowest part, usually just above the belly button.
2. Divide this measurement by the measurement around your hip at its widest part.
If a person’s waist is 28 inches and their hips are 36 inches, they will divide 28 by 36. This will give them 0.77.
What does it mean?
For men and women, how WHR affects the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) is different, because they tend to have different body shapes.
Research indicates that WHR may have the following effect on CVD risk:
- Below 0.9: The risk of cardiovascular health problems is low.
- From 0.9 to 0.99: The risk is moderate.
- At 1.0 or over: The risk is high.
- Below 0.8: The risk is low.
- From 0.8 to 0.89: The risk is moderate.
- At 0.9 or above: The risk is high.
Those figures can vary, however, depending on the source and population they refer to.
WHR can be a better indicator of heart attacks and other health threats than BMI and does not take into account the distribution of fat.
A analysis of health records for 1,349 people in 11 countries, released in 2013, found that those with a higher WHR did have a greater risk of colorectal surgical and medical complications.
However, WHR does not accurately calculate the percentage of total body fat of a person, or their ratio of muscle to fat.
Method 3: Waist-to-height ratio
Waist-to-height ratio (WtHR) is another method that could predict more accurately than BMI, the risk of heart disease, diabetes and overall mortality.
A person whose measurement of the waist is less than half their height has a lower risk of certain life-threatening complications in health.
Measure your waist-to-height ratio
A person will divide his / her waist size by height to calculate the WtHR. If the answer is 0.5 or less, it’s likely they’ll have a healthy weight.
- A woman who is 5 feet and 4 inches tall (163 cm), should have a waist measurement below 32 inches (81 cm).
- A man who is 6 feet or 183 centimeters (cm) tall, should have a waist measurement below 36 inches or 91 cm.
Those measurements will give just under 0.5 WtHR.
Researchers also concluded in a report published in Plos One in 2014 that WtHR is a better predictor of mortality than BMI.
The authors also cited findings from another study — including statistics for around 300,000 people from different ethnic groups — which concluded that predicting heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and hypertension is better than BMI at WHtR.
That suggests a useful screening tool could be the WHtR.
Measures that take into account waist size can be good measures of a person’s health risks because fat that gathers around the middle can be harmful to the heart, kidneys and liver.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that a individual with a waist size of 40 inches or higher or a woman with a waist size of 35 inches or higher has a greater risk than other persons of:
- type 2 diabetes
- high blood pressure
- coronary artery disease
Method 4: Body fat percentage
The amount of body fat is the weight of a person’s fat divided by its total weight.
Total body fat includes essential and storage fat.
Essential fat: In order to live a human requires essential fat. It plays a role in a vast array of bodily functions. It is safe for men to have as necessary fat 2 to 4 percent of their body composition. According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), the figure for women is 10 to 13 percent.
Storage fat: Fatty tissue supports the chest and abdomen’s internal organs, and the body may use it for energy, if necessary.
Besides the general recommendations for both men and women, the ideal total fat percentage will depend on the type of body or activity level of a individual.
ACE recommend the following percentages:
|Activity level||Male body type||Female body type|
|Obesity||38% or more||42% or more|
A high proportion of body fat can indicate a greater risk of:
- heart disease
- high blood pressure
Calculating the percentage of body fat can be a good way to measure a person’s fitness level because it reflects the composition of the person’s body. In comparison, BMI does not differentiate between fat and muscle mass.
How to measure body fat
The most popular method of measuring the percentage of body fat is by using a skinfold measurement which uses special calipers to pinch the skin.
Tissue on the hip, belly, chest (for men) or upper arm (for women) is weighed by the health professional. According to ACE, the techniques include accurate reading within around 3.5 percent.
Other techniques include:
- hydrostatic body fat measuring, or “underwater weighing”
- air densitometry, which measures air displacement
- dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA)
- ï bioelectrical impedance analysis
None of these can provide an exact reading of 100 percent, but the figures are similar enough to provide a good assessment.
Most gyms and doctor’s offices have machines for calculating the amount of a person’s body fat.
David Brewer, a registered dietician, takes a look at the issue of ideal weight in this video by What mattets Nutrition, addressing many of the points posed above.
Four ways to measure a healthy weight are the body mass index (BMI), waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), waist-to-height ratio (WtHR), and body-fat percentage.
The easiest way to get an accurate picture of whether or not you can consider taking action may be to combine them.
Anyone worried about their weight, waist size or body shape should speak to a physician or nutritionist. They’ll be able to advise on correct choices.
Does it matter if a person if overweight, as long as they are healthy and comfortable?
It is important to note that there is a link between being overweight and a higher risk of many chronic diseases including diabetes, hypertension, and metabolic syndrome.
Additionally, carrying extra weight on the skeletal system and joints can be tough, and it can lead to changes in motor function and postural control.
This may be because extra body weight can decrease muscle strength and endurance, change the posture of a individual, and cause discomfort with regular body movements.
Excess weight during the growth stages may lead to irregular motor patterning for young people. This can stay until adulthood.
Answers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.