Many people wish to know the answer to this question: how much should I weigh? There is no single ideal weight for all individuals, but various tools and calculators can offer a guide.
A note about sex and gender
Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.
Everybody is different, and various factors play a role in determining each person’s ideal weight. These factors can be biological, such as age, height, and natal sex, but mental factors can be just as important.
An individual may define their ideal weight as the one with which they feel the most comfortable.
However, maintaining a moderate weight can reduce a person’s risk of developing a number of health conditions, including:
- type 2 diabetes
- high blood pressure
- cardiovascular disease (CVD)
However, not everyone with excess weight will develop health issues. However, researchers believe that while this extra weight might not currently affect health, difficulties in managing weight could lead to problems in the future.
Read on to discover the different ways of working out a person’s ideal weight.
BMI is a common tool that measures a person’s weight in relation to their height. A BMI calculation provides a single number, which falls into the
- A BMI of less than 18.5 means 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 BMI, a person can use BMI calculators or review the charts below.
Weight and height guide chart
The following weight and height chart uses BMI tables from the
|4 ft 10 in|
|91–115 lb||119–138 lb||143–186 lb||191–258 lb|
|4 ft 11 in|
|94–119 lb||124–143 lb||148–193 lb||198–267 lb|
|97–123 lb||128–148 lb||153–199 lb||204–276 lb|
|5 ft 1 in|
|100–127 lb||132–153 lb||158–206 lb||211–285 lb|
|5 ft 2 in|
|104–131 lb||136–158 lb||164–213 lb||218–295 lb|
|5 ft 3 in|
|107–135 lb||141–163 lb||169–220 lb||225–304 lb|
|5 ft 4 in|
|110–140 lb||145–169 lb||174–227 lb||232–314 lb|
|5 ft 5 in|
|114–144 lb||150–174 lb||180–234 lb||240–324 lb|
|5 ft 6 in|
|118–148 lb||155–179 lb||186–241 lb||247–334 lb|
|5 ft 7 in|
|121–153 lb||159–185 lb||191–249 lb||255–344 lb|
|5 ft 8 in|
|125–158 lb||164–190 lb||197–256 lb||262–354 lb|
|5 ft 9 in|
|128–162 lb||169–196 lb||203–263 lb||270–365 lb|
|5 ft 10 in|
|132–167 lb||174–202 lb||209–271 lb||278–376 lb|
|5 ft 11 in|
|136–172 lb||179–208 lb||215–279 lb||286–386 lb|
|140–177 lb||184–213 lb||221–287 lb||294–397 lb|
|6 ft 1 in|
|144–182 lb||189–219 lb||227–295 lb||302–408 lb|
|6 ft 2 in|
|148–186 lb||194–225 lb||233–303 lb||311–420 lb|
|6 ft 3 in|
|152–192 lb||200–232 lb||240–311 lb||319–431 lb|
|6 ft 4 in|
|156–197 lb||205–238 lb||246–320 lb||328–443 lb|
BMI based on age
Age is not a factor in BMI for adults, but it is for children. This is because they are growing. The
To calculate a child’s BMI, a person can use the
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
- the proportion or distribution of fat
- the proportion of muscle mass
These factors can affect health. For example, high-performance athletes 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 weigh too much for their height.
Another limitation of BMI is that it does not distinguish between people of different ethnicities. Studies have shown that at the same BMI, non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic Black, and Mexican Americans may have significantly
This inaccuracy may lead to a misdiagnosis or an incorrect assessment of risk factors between individuals.
BMI can offer a rough idea of whether or not a person is at a moderate weight, 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.
Learn more about the limitations of BMI.
A person’s WHR compares their waist size with that of their hips. A high WHR
Research has shown that people with a high WHR are more likely to develop CVD and diabetes.
The higher the waist measurement in proportion to the hips, the greater this risk. For this reason, the WHR is a useful tool for calculating whether a person has a moderate weight and size.
To calculate their WHR, a person should measure around their waist at the narrowest part, usually just above the belly button. They can then divide this measurement by the width of their hip at its widest part.
For example, if a person’s waist is 28 inches, and their hips are 36 inches, they will divide 28 by 36, giving a WHR of 0.77.
What does it mean?
Optimal WHR differs between sex at birth and ethnicities, according to an
Having a high WHR can put people at a
The following are average values for WHRs and their associations with health risks.
|Low risk||below 0.9||below 0.8|
|High risk||over 1.0||over 0.9|
Studies have linked having a high WHR with an increased risk of developing myocardial infarctions, commonly known as heart attacks.
However, as with BMI, the WHR does have limitations. For example, this measure does not measure a person’s total body fat percentage or their muscle-to-fat ratio accurately.
To discover more evidence-based information and resources for obesity & weight management, visit our dedicated hub.
To calculate WtHR, a person should divide their waist size by their height. If the result is 0.5 or less, they are likely to have a moderate weight.
A 2014 study concluded that a WtHR of
Body fat percentage is the weight of a person’s fat divided by their total weight. This measurement includes both a person’s essential and stored fat.
An individual needs essential fat to survive — it is critical for the development of the brain, bone marrow, nerves, and membranes.
Storage fat is the fatty tissue that protects the internal organs in the chest and abdomen, and the body can use it if necessary for energy.
Learn more about measuring body fat.
Apart from the approximate guidelines for males and females, the ideal total fat percentage can depend on a person’s body type or activity level.
|Activity level||Male body type||Female body type|
|Obesity||25% or more||32% or more|
Learn more about body fat levels by age and sex.
A high proportion of body fat can indicate a greater risk of:
- heart disease
- high blood pressure
Calculating body fat percentage may be a suitable way to measure a person’s fitness level because it reflects their body composition, unlike DMI, WHR, and WtHR.
How to measure body fat
The most common way of measuring body fat percentage is to use a skinfold measurement, which uses special calipers to pinch the skin.
A health professional will measure tissue on the thigh, abdomen, and chest for males or upper arm for females.
Other measures include
- hydrostatic body fat measuring, or “underwater weighing”
- air densitometry, which measures air displacement
- dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry
- bioelectrical impedance analysis
While none of these can give an accurate reading, the estimates are close enough to offer a reasonable assessment.
Learn more about the different ways to measure body fat.
BMI, WHR, WtHR, and body-fat percentage are four ways of assessing weight.
Combining them may be the best way to get an accurate idea of whether a person should consider managing their weight.
Anyone with concerns about their weight, waist size, or body composition should speak with a doctor or nutritionist who can advise about suitable options.
Does it matter if a person is overweight, as long as they are healthy and comfortable?
It is important to remember 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 can be tough on the skeletal system and joints, and it can result in changes in motor function and postural control.
This may be because having extra body weight can reduce muscular strength and endurance, distort a person’s posture, and cause discomfort with normal body movements.
For young people, excess weight during the growth development stages can contribute to unusual motor patterning. This can remain into adulthood.