You’ve probably wanted to know the answer to these questions at least once: How much should I weigh? Or How much should I weigh for my height and age?
Well, the answer isn’t always as simple as just looking at a chart. There is not one ideal healthy weight for each person, because a number of different factors play a role: height, sex, fat and muscle composition, frame size, other factors. So don’t panic if your ideal weight and BMI sometimes differ.
WHAT IS BODY MASS INDES?
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). However, BMI is not a great guide because it uses only height and weight without taking body composition into account. A person could be muscular with very low body fat levels and be in fantastic shape but because muscle is heavy BMI would class them as obese. For example, many athletes like rugby players or boxers would be considered obese if you only looked at their BMI.
WHAT SHOULD MY BMI BE?
BMI is calculated by dividing your weight (or ‘mass’) in kilograms or pounds by your height in metres or inches, squared.
BMI result between 18.5 and 24.9 means you’re in the “normal” weight range for your height. If your result is under 18.5, you’re considered underweight. Between 25 and 29.9 means you’re considered overweight. And if your number is 30 to 35 or more, you’re considered obese.
Kilograms and meters
Formula: weight (kg) / [height (m)]2
With the metric system, the formula for BMI is weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared. Since height is commonly measured in centimeters, divide height in centimeters by 100 to obtain height in meters.
Example: Weight = 68 kg, Height = 165 cm (1.65 m)
Calculation: 68 ÷ (1.65 x 1.65) = 24.98
Pounds and inches
Formula: weight (lb) / [height (in)]2 x 703
Calculate BMI by dividing weight in pounds (lbs) by height in inches (in) squared and multiplying by a conversion factor of 703.
Example: Weight = 150 lbs, Height = 5’5” (65″)
Calculation: 150 ÷ (65 x 65) x 703 = 24.96
HEIGHT AND WEIGHT CHART
The following chart lists the weights in the different BMI ranges for adults at different heights.
HOW SHOULD I MANAGE MY WEIGHT?
There’s no magic pill, secret diet, or special workout plan that will help you maintain your weight. Instead, maintaining healthy habits is the key to staying at a healthy weight.
If you’d like to lose some weight, consider making an appointment with your doctor to create a plan.
You can also try these methods:
- Eat a diet of healthy, whole foods. Fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, lean protein, whole grains, and nuts are good choices. You’ll usually find these foods along the perimeter of the grocery store.
- Get regular exercise. Each week, aim to get 150 minutes of a moderate physical activity, like walking, or 75 minutes of more vigorous activity, like running.
- Keep a food diary to track calories. Burning more calories than you take in is the key to weight loss. You may notice that you snack mindlessly while watching TV or eat portions that are too large while out at restaurants. A diary will help you notice these patterns.
- Get support from friends, family, and other sources. There exist support groups for people with eating disorders such as compulsive overeating, anorexia, food addiction, bulimia, and more.\
Next time you step on the scales and try to work out your BMI, don’t blanch in horror at the results. Using BMI is recommended as a guide. Re-test to see if things have improved or got worse. And never compare yourself to someone else.
Numbers are not really important. We just need to be fit, then we know we’re doing something really powerful to increase our chances of living a long, healthy and active life.