The buzz about weight has been around since time unknown. It has gained momentum in recent times, given our almost-sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy eating habits, and the seemingly never ending work hours. Heart attacks and strokes, once reserved for senior citizens, are now overpowering people as young as 30. But what exactly is ideal weight? Is there a magic number that tells you all’s well with your body?
Despite the presence of countless websites, weighing machines, fitness centers, and gyms, the question “how much should I weigh for my age and height?” still persists.
Through this write-up, we have tried to put together some of the most popular ways your weight is calculated. But before you take a look at the various ways of calculating your body weight, here are certain interesting facts you should know!
What Determines Your Body Weight?
Along with your height and age, there are some other factors that actually determine your ideal body weight, which many a time is left out during calculations. Some of the factors that one should ideally consider while calculating his/her weight include:
- Body frame
- Bone density
- Body fat percentage
Along with the above mentioned factors, your gene, race, as well as metabolic rates play a major role in determining your ideal body weight. While many believe that Body Mass Index is the perfect indicator of your ideal weight, many feel waist to hip ratio is the right one.
An Interesting Revelation:
Various studies suggest that people who are overweight, in fact, are less prone to mortality risks and dreaded medical conditions than those who fall into the category of normal weight. Well, that is something really interesting here.
So here are the various ways your weight is calculated normally.
1. The Weighing Scale:
There is no explanation required about the weighing scale. Stand on it, preferably as soon as you wake up, and weigh yourself. So, let us say your weighing scale shows you are 76 kg and your height is 5 feet 6 inches. And, you are a woman who is 31, a mother of 2 kids, with obesity in genes, and with a broad frame. How correct do you think the scale is?
To keep it simple, what you see on the scale is the gross weight. And, if you are weighing yourself at a fitness centre or doctor, then of course, you are going to be classified as obese. But you will be considered slightly overweight, if the person is well aware of the other factors that determine the weight factor.
2. The Body Mass Index:
This is the most popular, and not to deny, the most sought after method for concluding whether you fall into the ideal weight category. So, what exactly is body mass index? It is nothing but the ratio of your weight to height.
Here is how you calculate your BMI.
BMI [Metric] = Weight (kg)/Height2 (m)
For example, if you weight 90 kilos and you are 1.8 m tall, then your BMI will be something like this:
BMI = 90/ (1.8 * 1.8) = 27.77
BMI [Imperial] = [Weight (lbs) * 703]/Height2 [inches]
For example, if you weight 198 lbs and height is 71 inches, then your BMI will be:
BMI = (198 * 703)/(72*72) = 139194/5184 = 26.85
According to health practitioners from across the world, the BMI acceptance levels is something as follows:
|Less than 18.5||Underweight|
|18.5 to 25||Ideal|
|25 to 30||Overweight|
|Greater than 30||Obese|
Calculate Your BMI
But is BMI The Right Way To Measure Your Weight?
The answer is indeed a little tricky, but I would say it is not accurate in anyway. And why do I say that? Well, for one, it does not take into consideration even your sex or age, leave aside the chest, waist, and hip measurements! A huge couch potato might end up with a lower BMI than a fit athlete of the same height. The reason – the belly fat, the huge thighs, love handles, the sex, race, without knowledge of these factors one just cannot determine the ideal weight of a person.
Plus, it forgets a quintessential weight determining factor – the bone density. A person who looks quite fat might be weighing more because of her bone density and not merely the sluggish fat. If a female is suffering from intense levels of osteoporosis, she might record a low BMI when compared to a woman who possesses heavier fat and weaker bones, but with the same height. However, despite such drawbacks, the BMI is a method people still prefer to rely on. In simple words, the body fat in people go unnoticed in a BMI calculator and the results are highly erratic.
3. Waist-Hip Ratio (WHR):
The next one in the league is the ratio of your waist size and hip size. Waist should always be measured at the smallest point just above your navel, while hips should be measured at the widest point.
Waist to hip ratio = Waist at its Smallest Circumference/Hips at its Widest Circumference:
If you are a woman with a waist of 33 and hips of 42, then your Waist to hip ratio will be:
WHR = 33/42 = 0.78
Here is how it will help you assess if you are falling into the desired weight category:
Male Waist To Hip Ratio Assessment:
|Waist to Hip Ratio||Risk of cardiovascular disorders|
|0.9 – 0.99||Moderate|
Female Waist To Hip Ratio Assessment:
|Waist to Hip Ratio||Risk of cardiovascular disorders|
|0.8 – 0.89||Moderate|
How Effective is WHR as a Body Weight Indicator?
When compared to BMI, this is any day a better version, as it showcases the chances of a person developing cardiac issues. Studies reveal that people with more fat at their waist are more prone to health issues than a person with large hips. This means, if you are a pear, then you are safer than an apple-shaped person.
However, this also does not yield the accurate measurement, as it does not contemplate your bone density or body frame. Yet, it is considered quite useful to assess health risks when compared to BMI.
4. Waist To Height Ratio:
This is yet another way of measuring your ideal weight and know whether you are under the threat of any cardiovascular conditions.
Waist to height ratio = Waist in Inches/Height in Inches:
If you are 5 feet 6 inches tall and have a waist of 32 inches, then your waist to height ratio will be:
Waist to height ratio = 32/66 = 0.48
Refer the table below to know what your ratio says about your weight:
Waist to Height Ratio for Males:
|Below 35||Abnormally slim and underweight|
|35 – 43||Extremely slim|
|44 – 46||Slender, healthy|
|47 – 53||Normal, healthy, attractive weight|
|53 – 58||Overweight|
|58 – 63||Extreme overweight to mildly obese|
|Above 63||Morbidly obese|
Waist to Height Ratio for Females:
|Below 35||Abnormally slim and underweight|
|35 – 42||Extremely slim|
|43 – 46||Slender, healthy|
|47 – 49||Normal weight, healthy, attractive|
|49 – 54||Overweight|
|54 – 58||Extreme overweight to mildly obese|
|Above 58||Morbidly obese|
This looks much better than the all-time favorite BMI, doesn’t it? It is definitely a better indicator of your overall health.
5. The Body Fat Percentage:
All of us have fat in our body, but in varied proportions. There is a specific level of fat which every human needs. Essential fat is what you need for your survival, while storage fat safeguards your vital organs that lie embedded in your abdomen and chest. Women need a higher amount of essential fat, and this varies between the races.
What is total body fat? It is the sum of the essential fat and storage fat. There are various ways of calculating the body fat percentage is a little tricky and may vary with different tools. You have the YMCA or US Navy way, the capillaries and the body fat scales and monitors.
Here I have used the US Navy Circumference Measurement. This makes use of various measurements from your body, including your neck, waist, and hips. Make sure you keep in mind the following aspects while measuring yourself:
- Height: Measure without your shoes or sandals
- Neck: Just below your larynx, bending forward gently
- Waist: Men – measure it at your navel; women – pick the smallest point above your navel
- Hip: This counts only for women; choose the widest point
Here is how you calculate the body fat percentage using this particular formula:
Note: Weight is measured in kilograms and other measurements in inches.
Body Fat Percentage for Males:
1. (Total weight / 1.082) + 94.42
2. Waist /4.15
- Lean body weight: I – II
- Body fat weight: Total weight – Lean body weight
- Body fat percentage: [Body fat weight/Total weight] / 100
For example, if you are a male with a weight of 80 kg and 30 inch waist, then your body fat percentage will be something like below;
Total weight = 80 kg
Waist = 36 in
I = (80 /1.082) + 94.42 = 180.98
II = 30 /4.15 = 124.5
- Lean body weight = 180.98 – 149.4 = 56.48
- Body fat weight = 80 – 31.58 = 23.52
- Body Fat Percentage = (23.52/80) / 100 = 29.4%
Body Fat Percentage for Females:
1. (Total weight / 0.732) + 8.987
2. Wrist (at the fullest point) /3.140
3. Waist / 0.157
4. Hips / 0.249
5. Forearm (at the fullest point) / 0.434
Lean body weight: I + II – III – IV + V
Body fat weight: Total weight – Lean body weight
Body fat percentage: [Body fat weight/Total weight] * 100
Let us take an example:
Measurements: Total weight = 76 kg, Wrist = 6 in, Waist = 32 in, Hips = 42 in, Forearm = 10 in
Calculations: I = 64.619, II = 1.91, III = 5.024, IV = 10.458, V = 4.34
- Lean body weight = 55.387
- Body fat weight = 76 – 55.387 = 20.613
- Body Fat Percentage = (20.613/76) / 100 = 27.12%
And here is a table that will brief you on how to assess yourself with the result:
|Classification||Females (% fat)||Males (% fat)|
The essential fat values mentioned above is lower than the recommended body fat percentage level as storage fat is essential for your safety.
When compared to all the above mentioned techniques, this is in fact the best way to know whether your weight is the right one for you. A person who is slim and weighs less need not always be healthy; she may actually have more body fat percentage!
In my view, this actually shows how fit you are. If you are a woman and your fat percentage crosses 30%, then start worrying about the consequences.
The above mentioned ways are just for your guidance. And these tools are strictly meant for adults. If you are sticking to a healthy diet and are active, then you need not worry about the results these tools give you.
So What About the Ideal Body Weight?
How much you should weigh for your age and height is actually a range and not a fixed number. You do not have to worry about your weight till your body fat falls between lean to moderate levels. And, of course if you have broader frame, you are going to weigh more than your narrower counterparts. Add to this your higher body density, expect it not to match your scales.
This article has briefly explained five different ways to help you find if your weight falls within the much talked about ‘ideal weight range’. All these methods can be calculated at your convenience at your home.
If you are going by the ‘ideal weight philosophy’, then 99% of the time you’ll be tempted to embark on a weight loss journey. However, keep in mind the various basic factors before you embark on this journey. The target should ideally be to keep your waist size under control even if your net weight goes up, which might happen when yur muscle mass increases.
Practice yoga, workout regularly, adopt a healthy diet, chuck out the bad carbs, embrace wholesome carbs, eat fibery delights, say no to carbonated drinks and smoking, bid adieu to processed foods, and keep up your metabolism levels high! Do these things without fail and start noticing the difference!
Still not happy? Then it is time you visit a professional and get to know the facts.
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