- Healthy Weight & Weight Management
- Happy Weight vs. Healthy Weight
- Normal weight ranges: Body mass index (BMI)
- Charts and online calculators
- Calculating my BMI
- Are there any problems using the BMI?
- BMI in children and teens
- Ideal Weight Calculator
- How Much Should I Weigh?
- Formulas for Finding the Ideal Weight
- Limitations of our IBW calculator
- Ideal Height and Weight Chart
- Determining your body mass index
- How can I tell if I'm overweight?
- Height and Weight Chart
- Healthy Weight
- What Causes Weight Gain?
- How much should I weigh for my height and age? BMI calculator and cha
- Body mass index calculator
- Weight and height guide chart
- What is the problem with BMI?
- Measure your waist-to-hip ratio
- What does it mean?
- Measure your waist-to-height ratio
- How to measure body fat
Healthy Weight & Weight Management
Many Americans struggle to control their weight. The country’s obesity problem is well known: 1 in 3 of us is obese, and the rate is rising.
But you still might wonder what a healthy weight is, and how to get there (and stay there) the right way.
It’s pretty easy to figure out the estimated healthy weight. You can use two simple tools.
The first is called body mass index (BMI).
To figure out your BMI, just use this math formula: Multiply your weight in pounds by 703 and divide it by your height (in inches) squared. So, for example, if you weigh 185 pounds and are 5-foot-5 (65 inches), then your BMI works out this way:
185 x 703 = 130,055 65 x 65 = 4,225
130,005 ÷ 4,225 = 30.78 (round up to 30.8)
Obesity in adults is defined as having a BMI of 30.0 or above. The other ranges are:
- Overweight = 25.0 to 29.9
- Normal weight = 18.5 to 24.9
- Underweight = under 18.5
BMI is a common tool to give you some idea of where you are. But it doesn’t measure body fat. It’s not meant to give a diagnosis or tell you for sure that you have a weight problem.
For example of how it can be off, muscular people might have a high BMI without being obese. And BMI can underestimate fat in older people and others who have lost muscle.
If you think you are obese or have questions about healthy weight, talk to your doctor.
There’s a second way to get an idea of how close you are to a healthy weight — just measure your waist.
The waist is key because tummy fat can be more serious and put you at a greater risk of things type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
BMI, measuring your waist doesn’t show for sure that you’re overweight. They are both common, general screening tools. But in general, here are the guidelines for men and women:
- A man’s waist should be no more than 40 inches
- If you’re a woman who isn’t pregnant, it should be no more than 35 inches.
Here’s how to measure your waist:
- Stand up and wrap a measuring tape around your waist (just above the hip bones).
- The tape should be snug but not pressed into your skin.
- Breathe out before you measure.
Doctors have another tool the inches around your hips compared with the inches around your waist.
To figure out your waist-to-hip ratio:
- Measure your waist at the thinnest part.
- Measure your hips at the widest part.
- Divide the waist by the hips.
Men with a waist-to-hip ratio higher than 0.9 have too much of a belly (think apple-shaped).Women with a number higher than 0.85 are carrying too much weight (more a pear).
The waist-to-hip guidelines differ by sex because men tend to carry extra weight in their bellies, while women show it more in the hips and buttocks.
Several things help determine a person’s weight, including genes and hormones. But being obese usually comes from eating more calories than you use. Your body holds on to extra calories and turns them into fat.
So there are two things you must change to lose weight in a healthy and lasting way:
- Eat right. Americans love fast food, sodas and processed foods. They add up.
- Move more. Our lifestyles can be short on exercise, playing, or just moving enough to burn the fuel we take in.
Your doctor might also want to talk about:
- Other behavioral changes
- Weight-loss surgery
If a diet sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The same goes for promises that you’ll lose weight fast without changing your diet or exercise habits.
A loss of 1 to 2 pounds a week is about right. So think “slow and steady” to keep the weight off for good.
For your diet:
Talk to your doctor about how many calories you should consume to lose weight. For women it’s generally up to 1,500 calories a day; for men it’s up to 1,800.
You’ll need to cut your calories by 500 to 1,000 calories a day to lose that 1-2 pounds per week.
- Aim for at least 2.5 hours of aerobic exercise ( brisk walking) every week. You’ll ly need even more than that to lose weight.
- Do some muscle strengthening at least twice a week.
- Add ordinary movement to that, as well, to burn calories throughout the day. (Park far from entrances. Take walks around the neighborhood. Get up from your desk and move regularly).
Just the word “diet” sounds a drag, doesn’t it?
So don’t think about dieting. Think about making better lifestyle choices.
Healthy eating and exercise can connect you with family, friends, and others with similar goals. You can join a support group or fitness center, take a class, or play with your kids.
Healthy living is a way of life, and the benefits are worth it.
CDC: “Healthy Weight.”
National Institutes of Health: “Aim for a Healthy Weight.”
Cleveland Clinic: “Weight Management and Obesity,” “Weight Control and Obesity FAQ.”
Mayo Clinic: “Obesity.”
© 2019 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.
Happy Weight vs. Healthy Weight
From the WebMD Archives
Odds are you weigh more than you did 20 years ago. Most of us do. And not only has your waistline grown, but your ideal weight has increased, too. In a recent Gallup poll, 60% described their weight as just about right. That's just about the same percentage of Americans who are overweight or obese.
What’s the truth about your “happy weight” and your healthy weight? Are they closer than you think? Or further apart than ever?
The idea that being overweight isn’t unhealthy got a turbo-charge in 2013. That’s when a study in The Journal of the American Medical Association reported that people who were up to 30 pounds overweight were less ly to die early than people at a normal weight.
A close investigation revealed major flaws in the study's methods, though. Turns out, our happy weight isn't so healthy after all.
What's more, decades of research show that obesity leads to many serious health problems.
These extra pounds make you more ly to get a wide range of diseases, from diabetes and high blood pressure to dementia and some kinds of cancer.
Going up just a single skirt size over any decade between your mid 20s and mid 50s, for example, makes you a third more ly to have breast cancer after menopause.
The health problems tied to obesity, especially chronic diseases diabetes, can have a long-term impact.
“These are diseases you have to manage not just for a few months, but for a lifetime,” says dietitian Rachel Brandeis. “They impact your health, your wallet, and your day-to-day activities. You spend more time at the doctor’s office and more money on medication. You’re always trying to manage your disease and feel better.” What's at stake, she says, is your quality of life.
Still, many of us have a hard time facing our weight. Brandeis says most people are “shocked” when they step on the scales.
1. Know your BMI and waist size.
Your body mass index (BMI) is your height and weight. It’s a good tool to help measure body fat – and gauge your chances of disease. But it isn’t foolproof.
If you're muscular, the BMI can overstate your body fat. If you're older and have less muscle mass, it can understate your body fat.
BMI is just a guess at the link between your weight and health, says Sally Stieghan, a registered nurse and dietitian from Atlanta.
Your waist size can give a better picture of your health – especially if you’re muscular. Simply take a tape measure and put it around your waist, right above your belly button. If your waist size is over 35 inches (for a woman) or 40 inches (for a man), it's time to take some action.
2. Forget your ideal weight.
Some doctors don’t even to talk about ideal weight. That’s because it can often seem too hard to reach. The fact is, even small amounts of weight loss are healthy.
Instead of focusing on that ideal weight, Brandeis says to aim low. A 7% to 10% weight loss makes a huge impact on your metabolism, she says. Once you reach that goal, the next 10% seems much easier.
Small changes are more ly to become permanent and, over time, have big impacts, Stieghan agrees.
3. It's never too late.
As you get older, your muscle mass shrinks. But you can boost lean muscle mass and keep your body fat down, even in your 80s, studies show. You’ll also have better balance and stability, which will help prevent broken bones.
British Medical Journal, Aug. 21, 2014.
CDC: “Healthy Weight — it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle.”
Gallup: “Americans Continue to Adjust Their Ideal Weight Upward.”
Flegal, K. The Journal of the American Medical Association, Jan. 2, 2013.
Harvard School of Public Health: “Ask the expert: Dr. Walter Willett,” “Healthy Weight.”
Rachel Brandeis, RD, LD.
Sally Stieghan, RD, LD, Atlanta.
© 2008 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved. How Many Calories Do You Need?
Normal weight ranges: Body mass index (BMI)
Body mass index, or BMI, is a way to help you figure out if you are at a healthy weight for your height. BMI is a number your weight and height. In general, the higher the number, the more body fat a person has. BMI is often used as a screening tool to decide if your weight might be putting you at risk for health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
BMI is used to broadly define different weight groups in adults 20 years old or older. The same groups apply to both men and women.
- Underweight: BMI is less than 18.5
- Normal weight: BMI is 18.5 to 24.9
- Overweight: BMI is 25 to 29.9
- Obese: BMI is 30 or more
Charts and online calculators
Charts and tables, such as the one below, are one easy way to figure out your BMI. There are also several online BMI calculators, such as this one on our website.
To use the table below, find your height on the left side of the chart, then go across to the weight that is closest to yours. At the top of the chart you can see your BMI, and at the bottom of the chart you can see which category you fit into – healthy weight, overweight, or obese:
This table shows us that a woman who is 5 ft. 4 in. tall is considered overweight (BMI is 25 to 29) if she weighs between 145 and 169 pounds. She is considered obese (BMI is 30 or more) if she weighs 174 pounds or more.
A man who is 5 ft. 10 in. tall is considered overweight (BMI is 25 to 29) if he weighs between 174 and 202 pounds, and is obese (BMI is 30 or more) if he weighs 209 pounds or more.
Calculating my BMI
You can also calculate your own BMI. The actual formula to determine BMI uses metric system measurements: weight in kilograms (kg) divided by height in meters, squared (m2).
When using pounds and inches, the formula needs to be altered slightly. Multiply your weight in pounds by 703. Divide that by your height in inches, squared:
BMI =(your weight in pounds x 703) ÷ (your height in inches x your height in inches)
For example, if you weigh 120 pounds and are 5 ft. 3 in. (63 in.) tall:
BMI = (120 x 703) ÷ (63 x 63) or 84,360 ÷ 3969 = 21.3
This is well within the healthy weight range.
Are there any problems using the BMI?
Doctors and nurses often use BMI to help find out if a person might have a weight problem. BMI gives a good estimate of total body fat for most people, but it doesn’t work well for everybody.
For example, bodybuilders or other very muscular people can have a high BMI because of their muscle mass, even though they’re not necessarily overweight.
The BMI can also underestimate body fat in people who have lost muscle mass, such as some older people.
For most adults, the BMI is a good way to get an idea of healthy weight ranges. But it’s not always the final word in deciding if a person is overweight or obese. There are other things to think about when judging how much someone should weigh.
A person with a high BMI should be evaluated by a health care provider, who might use other factors such as skinfold thickness (a measure of body fat), waist size, evaluations of diet and family health problems, and other factors to find out if a person’s weight might pose a health risk.
BMI in children and teens
BMI can be calculated the same way for children and teens as it is for adults, but the numbers don’t have the same meaning. This is because the normal amount of body fat changes with age in children and teens, and is different between boys and girls. So for kids, BMI levels that define being normal weight or overweight are the child’s age and gender.
To account for this, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed age- and gender-specific growth charts. These charts are used to translate a BMI number into a percentile a child’s sex and age. The percentiles are then used to determine the different weight groups:
- Underweight: less than the 5th percentile
- Normal weight: 5th percentile to less than the 85th percentile
- Overweight: 85th percentile to less than the 95th percentile
- Obese: 95th percentile or higher
An easy way to determine your child’s BMI percentile is to use the CDC’s online BMI percentile calculator at https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/bmi/calculator.html.
Even in a young person, being overweight or obese can cause health problems. And it may directly increase the risk for certain health problems later in life, including some kinds of cancer. It also increases the chances of being overweight or obese as an adult, as well as the risk of health problems that can come with this.
Ideal Weight Calculator
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The Ideal Weight Calculator computes ideal bodyweight (IBW) ranges height, gender, and age. The idea of finding the IBW using a formula has been sought after by many experts for a long time. Currently, there persist several popular formulas, and our Ideal Weight Calculator provides their results for side-to-side comparisons.
The ideal weight popular formulas:
RelatedBMI Calculator | Body Fat Calculator | Calorie Calculator
How Much Should I Weigh?
Most everyone has at some point tried to lose weight, or at least known somebody who has. This is largely due to the perception of an “ideal” body weight, which is often what we see promoted through various media such as social media, TV, movies, magazines, etc.
Although ideal body weight (IBW) today is sometimes perceived visual appeal, IBW was actually introduced to estimate dosages for medical use, and the formulas that calculate it are not at all related to how a person looks at a given weight. It has since been determined that the metabolism of certain drugs is more IBW than it is total body weight.
Today, IBW is also used widely throughout sports, since many sports classify people their body weight.
Note that IBW is not a perfect measurement. It does not consider the percentages of body fat and muscle in a person's body. This means that it is possible for highly fit, healthy athletes to be considered overweight their IBW.
This is why IBW should be considered with the perspective that it is an imperfect measure and not necessarily indicative of health, or a weight that a person should necessarily strive toward; it is possible to be over or under your “IBW” and be perfectly healthy.
How much a person should weigh is not an exact science. It is highly dependent on each individual. Thus far, there is no measure, be it IBW, body mass index (BMI), or any other that can definitively state how much a person should weigh to be healthy.
They are only references, and it's more important to adhere to making healthy life choices such as regular exercise, eating a variety of unprocessed foods, getting enough sleep, etc. than it is to chase a specific weight a generalized formula.
That being said, many factors can affect the ideal weight; the major factors are listed below. Other factors include health conditions, fat distribution, progeny, etc.
In theory, age shouldn't be a large determinant of a IBW past the ages of 14-15 for girls and 16-17 for boys, after which most people stop growing. It is actually expected that human males and females to lose 1.5 and 2 inches in height respectively by age 70.
It is important to remember that as people age, lean muscle mass decreases and it is easier to accumulate excess body fat.
This is a natural process, though it is possible to lessen the effects of aging by adopting various habits such as monitoring diet, exercise, stress, and sleep.
Generally, females weigh less than males even though they naturally have a higher percentage of body fat. This is because the male body generally has higher muscle mass, and muscle is heavier than fat. Not only that, but women generally have lower bone density. Last but not least, males tend to be taller than females.
The taller the person, the more muscle mass and body fat they have, which results in more weight. A male at a similar height to a female should weigh about 10-20% heavier.
Body Frame Size
Body frame size is another factor that can have a significant impact on the measurement of ideal weight. Body frame size is typically categorized as small, medium, or large boned. It is measured the circumference of a person's wrist in relation to their height, as shown below.
- Height under 5'2″
- Small boned = wrist size less than 5.5″
- Medium boned = wrist size 5.5″ to 5.75″
- Large boned = wrist size over 5.75″
- Height between 5'2″ and 5' 5″
- Small boned = wrist size less than 6″
- Medium boned = wrist size 6″ to 6.25″
- Large boned = wrist size over 6.25″
- Height over 5' 5″
- Small boned = wrist size less than 6.25″
- Medium boned = wrist size 6.25″ to 6.5″
- Large boned = wrist size over 6.5″
- Height over 5' 5″
- Small boned = wrist size 5.5″ to 6.5″
- Medium boned = wrist size 6.5″ to 7.5″
- Large boned = wrist size over 7.5″
A person who is large boned will naturally weigh more than someone who is small boned, even at the same height, making body frame size a factor that can affect measurements such as IBW and BMI.
Formulas for Finding the Ideal Weight
IBW formulas were developed mainly to facilitate drug dosage calculations.
All of the formulas, have the same format of a base weight given a height of 5 feet, with a set weight increment added per inch over the height of 5 feet.
For example, if you are a 5'10″ male estimating your ideal weight with the Devine formula, you would add (2.3 × 10) kg to 50 kg to get 73 kg, or ~161 lbs.
The formulas differ in the values used the research of the scientists involved in their development, and their findings. The Devine formula is the most widely used formula for the measurement of IBW.
G. J. Hamwi Formula (1964)
|Male:||48.0 kg + 2.7 kg per inch over 5 feet|
|Female:||45.5 kg + 2.2 kg per inch over 5 feet|
Invented for medicinal dosage purposes.
B. J. Devine Formula (1974)
|Male:||50.0 kg + 2.3 kg per inch over 5 feet|
|Female:||45.5 kg + 2.3 kg per inch over 5 feet|
Similar to the Hamwi Formula, it was originally intended as a basis for medicinal dosages weight and height. Over time, the formula became a universal determinant of IBW.
J. D. Robinson Formula (1983)
|Male:||52 kg + 1.9 kg per inch over 5 feet|
|Female:||49 kg + 1.7 kg per inch over 5 feet|
Modification of the Devine Formula.
D. R. Miller Formula (1983)
|Male:||56.2 kg + 1.41 kg per inch over 5 feet|
|Female:||53.1 kg + 1.36 kg per inch over 5 feet|
Modification of the Devine Formula.
Healthy BMI Range
The World Health Organization's (WHO) recommended healthy BMI range is 18.5 – 25 for both male and female. the BMI range, it is possible to find out a healthy weight for any given height.
BMI is a commonly used metric for determining IBW. It is widely used in the medical field as a quick indicator of possible health complications.
Generally, the higher the BMI, the higher the chance a person will suffer from health problems such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and many more.
It is an indicator used by doctors to advise their patients of potential health problems, especially if there is a noticeable progressive increase in their BMI, and is currently the official metric for classifying individuals according to different obesity levels.
Healthy BMI Range for Children
All the formulas above are for adults age 18 or older. For children and teens, please refer to the following BMI charts published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC recommends that children maintain a BMI between the 5th and 85th percentile their age.
Limitations of our IBW calculator
There are limitations to all the formulas and methods. Because the formulas are designed to be as applicable to as wide a range of people as possible, they cannot be highly accurate for every single individual.
The formulas factor only height and gender, and there are no considerations for physical handicaps, people on the extreme ends of the spectrum, activity levels, or muscle mass to body fat ratios, otherwise known as body composition.
Our Ideal Weight Calculator is meant to be used as a general guideline popular formulas, and its results are not intended as strict values that a person must achieve to be considered an “ideal weight.”
Ideal Height and Weight Chart
What's the best way to determine a healthy weight? You can find out what your body mass index is by using the interactive BMI calculator, or you can look at your height and weight in the chart below.
Determining your body mass index
Determining how much you should weigh is not a simple matter of looking at a height-weight chart, but includes considering the amount of bone, muscle and fat in your body's composition.
The amount of fat is the critical measurement. A good indicator of how much fat you carry is the body mass index (BMI). Although it is not a perfect measure, it gives a fairly accurate assessment of how much of your body is composed of fat.
How can I tell if I'm overweight?
Use the tool at right to calculate your BMI. Having a BMI higher than 24.9 may mean you are overweight. Note that these are approximate values, and they are intended to be used only as a rough guide.
If you are worried about your BMI or are trying to lose weight, talk to your primary care doctor.
You may also wish to contact the Rush Center for Weight Loss and Lifestyle Medicine, which offers individualized weight loss and wellness programs for people of all ages.
You may also contact the Rush Nutrition and Wellness Center or the Rush University Prevention Center. These programs offer nutrition counseling and help with making lifestyle changes.
Doctors at Rush offer bariatric surgery for some people who are morbidly obese (those with a BMI of at least 40, or a BMI of at least 35 plus an obesity-related disease such as diabetes or high blood pressure).
Height and Weight Chart
|4' 10″||91 to 118 lbs.||119 to 142 lbs.||143 to 186 lbs.|
|4' 11″||94 to 123 lbs.||124 to 147 lbs.||148 to 193 lbs.|
|5'||97 to 127 lbs.||128 to 152 lbs.||153 to 199 lbs.|
|5' 1″||100 to 131 lbs.||132 to 157 lbs.||158 to 206 lbs.|
|5' 2″||104 to 135 lbs.||136 to 163 lbs.||164 to 213 lbs.|
|5' 3″||107 to 140 lbs.||141 to 168 lbs.||169 to 220 lbs.|
|5' 4″||110 to 144 lbs.||145 to 173 lbs.||174 to 227 lbs.|
|5' 5″||114 to 149 lbs.||150 to 179 lbs.||180 to 234 lbs.|
|5' 6″||118 to 154 lbs.||155 to 185 lbs.||186 to 241 lbs.|
|5' 7″||121 to 158 lbs.||159 to 190 lbs.||191 to 249 lbs.|
|5' 8″||125 to 163 lbs.||164 to 196 lbs.||197 to 256 lbs.|
|5' 9″||128 to 168 lbs.||169 to 202 lbs.||203 to 263 lbs.|
|5' 10″||132 to 173 lbs.||174 to 208 lbs.||209 to 271 lbs.|
|5' 11″||136 to 178 lbs.||179 to 214 lbs.||215 to 279 lbs.|
|6'||140 to 183 lbs.||184 to 220 lbs.||221 to 287 lbs.|
|6' 1″||144 to 188 lbs.||189 to 226 lbs.||227 to 295 lbs.|
|6' 2″||148 to 193 lbs.||194 to 232 lbs.||233 to 303 lbs.|
|6' 3″||152 to 199 lbs.||200 to 239 lbs.||240 to 311 lbs.|
|6' 4″||156 to 204 lbs.||205 to 245 lbs.||246 to 320 lbs.|
|BMI||19 to 24||25 to 29||30 to 39|
Source: National Institutes of Health. Don't see your weight? Learn more.
- Maintaining a healthy weight is important for health. In addition to lowering the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and high blood pressure, it can also lower the risk of many different cancers.
- Move more, eat less. Turning off the television and skipping the sugary drinks are two ways to get started.
Your weight, your waist size, and the amount of weight gained since your mid-20s can have serious health implications.
These factors can strongly influence your chances of developing the following diseases and conditions:
- Cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke
- Sleep apnea
If your weight is in the healthy range and isn’t more than 10 pounds over what you weighed when you turned 21, focus on maintaining that weight by watching what you eat and exercising.
Because most adults between the ages of 18 and 49 gain 1-2 pounds each year (1), stopping and preventing weight gain should be a priority. Gaining weight as you age increases the chances of developing one or more chronic diseases.
- In the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, middle-aged women and men who gained 11 to 22 pounds after age 20 were up to three times more ly to develop heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and gallstones than those who gained five pounds or fewer.
- Those who gained more than 22 pounds had an even larger risk of developing these diseases. (2-6)
- Another analysis of Nurses’ Health Study data found that adult weight gain—even after menopause—can increase the risk of postmenopausal breast cancer. (7)
- Encouragingly, for women who had never used hormone replacement therapy, losing weight after menopause—and keeping it off—cut their risk of post-menopausal breast cancer in half.
Does Being Overweight Reduce Mortality?
You may have seen news coverage of a study claiming that being overweight and obese may reduce mortality (8, 9) but a panel of experts discussed why the general public should not rely on these flawed study findings.
- The main flaw of this study is that the normal weight group, which showed an increased mortality risk compared to the overweight group, included more heavy smokers, patients with cancer or other diseases that cause weight loss, and elderly people suffering from frailty. There was no distinction made between these unhealthy normal weight people and lean healthy individuals. The overweight and obese groups did appear to have a lower mortality rate than this mix of healthy and very unhealthy normal weighted individuals, and this flaw led to false conclusions that overweight and grade 1 obesity carry no risk and may offer reduced mortality.
View the February 20, 2013 webcast of the panel presented by the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health: Does Being Overweight Really Reduce Mortality?
Read more about this study in our “Ask the Expert” with Dr. Walter Willett.
What Causes Weight Gain?
1. Diet: The quantity and quality of food in your diet has a strong impact on weight.
2. Genes: Some people are genetically predisposed to gain weight more easily than others or to store fat around the midsection.
Genes do not have to become destiny, however, and studies suggest that eating a healthy diet, staying active, and avoiding unhealthy habits drinking soda can prevent the genetic predisposition to risk for obesity. (10)
Read more about genetic risk for obesity on the Obesity Prevention Source.
3.Physical inactivity: Exercising has a host of health benefits, including reducing the chances of developing heart disease, some types of cancer, and other chronic diseases. (11) Physical activity is a key element of weight control and health.
4.Sleep: Research suggests that there’s a link between how much people sleep and how much they weigh. In general, children and adults who get too little sleep tend to weigh more than those who get enough sleep. (12, 13)
- For example, in the Nurses’ Health Study, researchers followed roughly 60,000 women for 16 years. At the start of the study, all of the women were healthy, and none were obese; 16 years later, women who slept 5 hours or less per night had a 15 percent higher risk of becoming obese, compared to women who slept 7 hours per night. Short sleepers also had 30 percent higher risk of gaining 30 pounds over the course of the study, compared to women who got 7 hours of sleep per night.
There are several possible ways that sleep deprivation could increase the chances of becoming obese.
- Sleep-deprived people may be too tired to exercise, decreasing the “calories burned” side of the weight-change equation.
- People who don’t get enough sleep may take in more calories than those who do, simply because they are awake longer and have more opportunities to eat.
- Lack of sleep also disrupts the balance of key hormones that control appetite, so sleep-deprived people may be hungrier than those who get enough rest each night.
Read more about sleep and obesity.
1. NIH, N.H.L., and Blood Institute November 29, 2010.
2. Rimm, E.B., et al., Body size and fat distribution as predictors of coronary heart disease among middle-aged and older US men. Am J Epidemiol, 1995. 141(12): p. 1117-27.
3. Willett, W.C., et al., Weight, weight change, and coronary heart disease in women. Risk within the ‘normal’ weight range. JAMA, 1995.
273(6): p. 461-5.
4. Colditz, G.A., et al., Weight gain as a risk factor for clinical diabetes mellitus in women. Ann Intern Med, 1995. 122(7): p. 481-6.
5. Huang, Z., et al., Body weight, weight change, and risk for hypertension in women. Ann Intern Med, 1998. 128(2): p. 81-8.
6. Maclure, K.M., et al.
, Weight, diet, and the risk of symptomatic gallstones in middle-aged women. N Engl J Med, 1989. 321(9): p. 563-9.
7. Eliassen, A.H., et al., Adult weight change and risk of postmenopausal breast cancer. JAMA, 2006. 296(2): p. 193-201.
8. Flegal, K.M., et al., Cause-specific excess deaths associated with underweight, overweight, and obesity. JAMA, 2007. 298(17): p.
9. Flegal, K.M., et al., Association of all-cause mortality with overweight and obesity using standard body mass index categories: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA, 2013. 309(1): p. 71-82.
10. Qi, Q., et al., Sugar-sweetened beverages and genetic risk of obesity. N Engl J Med, 2012. 367(15): p. 1387-96.
11. Haskell, W.L., et al.
, Physical activity and public health: updated recommendation for adults from the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 2007. 39(8): p. 1423-34.
12. Patel, S.R. and F.B. Hu, Short sleep duration and weight gain: a systematic review. Obesity (Silver Spring), 2008. 16(3): p. 643-53.
13. Patel, S.R., et al.
, Association between reduced sleep and weight gain in women. Am J Epidemiol, 2006. 164(10): p. 947-54.
The contents of this website are for educational purposes and are not intended to offer personal medical advice.
You should seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The Nutrition Source does not recommend or endorse any products.
How much should I weigh for my height and age? BMI calculator and cha
Many people want to know the answer to this question: How much should I weigh? However, there is not one ideal healthy weight for each person, because a number of different factors play a role.
These include age, muscle-fat ratio, height, sex, and body fat distribution, or body shape.
Having excess weight can affect a person’s risk of developing a number of health conditions, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular problems.
Not everyone who carries extra weight develops health problems. However, researchers believe that while these extra pounds might not currently impact a person’ s health, a lack of management could lead to problems in the future.
Read on to find out about four ways of working out your ideal weight.
Body mass index (BMI) is a common tool for deciding whether a person has an appropriate body weight. It measures a person’s weight in relation to their 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.
Body mass index calculator
To calculate your BMI, you can use our BMI calculators or review our charts below.
Weight and height guide chart
The following weight and height chart uses BMI tables from the National Institute of Health to determine how much a person’s weight should be for their 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 a very simple measurement. While it takes height into consideration, it does not account for factors such as:
- waist or hip measurements
- proportion or distribution of fat
- proportion of muscle mass
These, too, can have an impact on health.
High-performance athletes, for example, tend to be very fit and have little body fat. They can have a high BMI because they have more muscle mass, but this does not mean they are overweight.
BMI can also offer a rough idea of whether or not a person’s weight is healthy, and it is useful for measuring trends in population studies.
However, it should not be the only measure for an individual to assess whether their weight is ideal or not.
Share on PinterestA person’s waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) can give an idea about whether they have more abdominal fat than is healthy.
A person’s waist-to-hip measurement compares their waist size with that of their hips.
Research has shown that people who have more body fat around their middle are more ly to develop cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes.
The higher the waist measurement in proportion to the hips, the greater the risk.
For this reason, the waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) is a useful tool for calculating whether a person has a healthy weight and size.
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?
How WHR affects the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) is different for men and women, because they tend to have different body shapes.
Evidence suggests that WHR can impact the risk of CVD as follows:
- 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.
However, these figures can vary, depending on the source and the population to which they apply.
WHR may be a better predictor of heart attacks and other health risks than BMI, which does not take fat distribution into consideration.
A study of health records for 1,349 people in 11 countries, published in 2013, showed that those with a higher WHR also have a greater risk of medical and surgical complications relating to colorectal surgery.
However, WHR does not accurately measure a person’s total body fat percentage, or their muscle-to-fat ratio.
Waist-to-height ratio (WtHR) is another tool that might predict the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and overall mortality more effectively than BMI.
A person whose waist measurement is less than half their height has a lower risk of a number of life-threatening health complications.
Measure your waist-to-height ratio
Share on PinterestA person’s height should be at least twice their waist measurement for a healthy WtHR.
To calculate the WtHR, a person should divide their waist size by their height. If the answer is 0.5 or less, the chances are that they 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.
These measurements will give a WtHR of just under 0.5.
In a study published in 2014 in Plos One, researchers concluded that WtHR was a better predictor of mortality than BMI.
The authors also cited findings from another study — involving statistics for around 300,000 people from different ethnic groups — which concluded that WHtR is better than BMI at predicting heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and hypertension.
This suggests that the WHtR could be a useful screening tool.
Measurements that take waist size into account can be good indicators of a person’s health risks because fat that collects around the middle can be harmful for the heart, kidneys, and liver.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) note that a man with a waist size of 40 inches or above, or a woman with a waist size of 35 inches or above has a higher risk than other people of:
- type 2 diabetes
- high blood pressure
- coronary artery disease
This does not, however, take a person’s height or hip size into consideration.
Body fat percentage is the weight of a person’s fat divided by their total weight.
Total body fat includes essential and storage fat.
Essential fat: A person needs essential fat to survive. It plays a role in a wide range of bodily functions. For men, it is healthy to have 2 to 4 percent of their body composition as essential fat. For women, the figure is 10 to 13 percent, according to the American Council on Exercise (ACE).
Storage fat: Fatty tissue protects the internal organs in the chest and abdomen, and the body can use it if necessary for energy.
Apart from the approximate guidelines for men and women, the ideal total fat percentage can depend on a person’s body type or activity level.
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 body fat percentage may be a good way to measure a person’s fitness level because it reflects the person’s body composition. BMI, in contrast, does not distinguish between fat and muscle mass.
How to measure body fat
Share on PinterestCalipers measure body fat. The result can give an indication of whether a person is ly to have certain health risks.
The most common ways of measuring body fat percentage is to use a skinfold measurement, which uses special calipers to pinch the skin.
The health professional will measure tissue on the thigh, abdomen, chest (for men) or upper arm (for women). The techniques provide an accurate reading within around 3.5 percent, according to ACE.
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 give a 100-percent accurate reading, but the estimates are close enough to give a reasonable assessment.
Many gyms and doctor’s offices have devices for measuring a person’s body fat percentage.
In this video by What Matters Nutrition, David Brewer, a registered dietician, takes a look at the question of ideal weight, discussing many of the points raised above.
Body mass index (BMI), waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), waist-to-height ratio (WtHR), and body-fat percentage are four ways of assessing a healthy weight.
Combining them may be the best way to get an accurate idea of whether you should consider taking action or not.
Anyone who is concerned about their weight, waist size, or body composition should speak to a doctor or nutritionist. They will be able to advise about suitable options.