One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to our bodies, especially when trying to figure out how much you should weigh.
Numbers on a scale aren’t always a great way of gauging overall health, and can even be problematic. But if you like to track your weight as a means of following a healthy lifestyle, there are ways to determine the weight range that’s best for Y-O-U.
Get your calculator out! Here are a handful of ways to determine if your weight falls in the “healthy” zone, and how some methods fall short.
Body mass index (BMI)
A popular way to calculate your weight, BMI takes into account your weight in relation to your height. The formula includes:
According to the National Institute of Health, the BMI categories include:
- underweight = under 18.5
- normal weight = 18.5–24.9
- overweight = 25–29.9
- obesity = over 30
The accuracy with BMI isn’t the best since it doesn’t take in consideration frame size and muscle composition. For example, celebs like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Vin Diesel are likely to have higher BMI’s but aren’t considered overweight.
Waist-to-hip ratio (WHR)
Take your waist circumference and divide it by your hip circumference to get your WHR. The result lets you know how much fat is stored in your lower body, such as your waist, hips, and bum.
You can calculate this at home with a tape measure, but that also reduces accuracy since it’s not always simple to measure yourself. When measuring your waist, you want to breathe normally and measure the area slightly above your belly button. Your hip measurement should be the largest part of your hips/butt.
Different health organizations link the following WHRs to health risks:
|Health risk||WHR (women)||WHR (men)|
|threshold for abdominal obesity||0.80 cm||0.95 cm|
|substantially increased risk of metabolic complications||≥0.85 cm||≥0.90 cm|
Along with measuring being inaccurate, this method can be skewed for people with muscular hips and shorter folks under 5 feet tall.
Waist-to-height ratio (WtHR)
This method is similar to WHR, but instead of your hips, you’re measuring your height. To calculate your WtHR, take your waist measurement in inches and divide by your height in inches (you can also do this in centimeters).
To fall in the healthy range, your WtHR should be about 0.5, meaning your waist measurement would equal less than half of your height.
One downfall is that WtHR still doesn’t take hip size into consideration.
Body fat percentage
When you divide the weight of a person’s fat by their total weight, you get their body fat percentage. Fat tends to have a negative reputation, but it’s crucial for survival since it protects our organs and is used for energy.
The American Council on Exercise (ACE) lists the following ranges:
|Activity level||Male body type||Female body type|
Unfortunately, calculating this isn’t simple to do at home unless you’ve been trained to use skin calipers (a special tool to take skinfold measurements).
Seeing a health professional will provide more accurate results (usually within 3.5 percent, according to ACE) and they will take multiple measurements usually on the thigh, abdomen, upper arm, or chest (for men).
There are also various special equipment and techniques to calculate body fat percentage, but they may wind up costing you an arm and a leg.
On the flip side, body fat percentage may outweigh BMI when it comes to receiving accurate info about your weight. A 2012 study states that body fat percentage has a better ability to pinpoint healthy individuals who have a BMI that may be considered “overweight” or “obese” since it differentiates between lean mass and fat mass.
The taller you are, the more you’ll weigh since you have more square footage. Being “big boned” is also a real thing.
Frame size can vary for both men and women, and it’s calculated based on wrist circumference in relation to height. When looking at a weight chart based on your height, you’ll likely lean toward the end of the range if you have a large frame.
The following chart shows weight ranges compared to height according to NIH:
|91–115 lbs.||119–38 lbs.||143–186 lbs.||191–258 lbs.|
|94–119 lbs.||124–43 lbs.||148–193 lbs.||198–267 lbs.|
|97–123 lbs.||128–148 lbs.||153–199 lbs.||204–76 lbs.|
|100–127 lbs.||132–153 lbs.||158–206 lbs.||211–285 lbs.|
|104–131 lbs.||136–158 lbs.||164–213 lbs.||218–95 lbs.|
|107–135 lbs.||141–163 lbs.||169–20 lbs.||225–304 lbs.|
|110–140 lbs.||145–169 lbs.||174–227 lbs.||232–14 lbs.|
|114–144 lbs.||150–174 lbs.||180–234 lbs.||240–324 lbs.|
|118–148 lbs.||155–179 lbs.||186–241 lbs.||247–334 lbs.|
|121–153 lbs.||159–185 lbs.||191–249 lbs.||255–344 lbs.|
|125–158 lbs.||164–190 lbs.||197–256 lbs.||262–354 lbs.|
|128–162 lbs.||169–196 lbs.||203–263 lbs.||270–365 lbs.|
|132–167 lbs.||174–202 lbs.||209–271 lbs.||278–376 lbs.|
|136–172 lbs.||179–208 lbs.||215–279 lbs.||286–386 lbs.|
|140–177 lbs.||184–213 lbs.||221–287 lbs.||294–397 lbs.|
|144–182 lbs.||189–219 lbs.||227–295 lbs.||302–408 lbs.|
|148–186 lbs.||194–225 lbs.||233–303 lbs.||311–20 lbs.|
|152–192 lbs.||200–232 lbs.||240–311 lbs.||319–431 lbs.|
|156–197 lbs.||205–238 lbs.||246–320 lbs.||328–443 lbs.|