How Much Should I Weigh?

A glass weighing scale and a blue measuring tape

How much should I weigh?

It may seem like a simple question, but there is no straightforward answer to it. The optimal body weight depends on a number of factors including your age, gender, height, body shape, fat distribution, etc. However, you must take the time to find out the ideal weight and take measures to bring your weight within the optimal range as being over or underweight can have various negative impacts on health. If you are wondering how much you should weigh, here are a few ways to find out your ideal weight.

How Much Should I Weigh – 3 Ways to Determine Optimal Weight

What is the best way to determine a healthy weight? Well, there are different ways that you try. Scroll down to learn more about them and see which one works the best for you.

1. Body Mass Index (BMI)

One of the most common ways of determining a healthy body weight is by calculating the Body Mass Index or BMI. BMI takes two main factors into account – height and weight. In other words, BMI is a tool that measures weight in relation to height.

BMI Guide – How Much Should I Weigh By Height?

There are many online BMI calculators that you can use to determine your BMI. However, you must know how to read the results. Here’s a general guide to understand your BMI readings. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH):

  • If your BMI is less than 18.5, you are underweight
  • If your BMI lies within the range of 18.5 and 24.9, your weight is ideal
  • If your BMI lies within the range of 25 and 29.8, you are overweight
  • If the BMI is over 30, you are obese

You can also use the following table to determine your ideal weight by height.

 BMI = 18.5 – 24.9BMI = 25 – 29.9BMI = 30 – 35

It is important to understand that while BMI is a good indicator of healthy weight, it is very basic. It only takes height into account, ignoring other important factors like waist or hip measurements, muscle mass distribution, etc. However, all these factors can have a major impact on your health, which is why they should not be ignored.

Let’s take an example of high-performing athletes to understand the problem with BMI. Athletes are generally fit and have very low body fat. However, depending on the sport, they may have high muscle mass. As a result, their BMI may be very high even though they are not overweight.

If you think your BMI is not healthy, it is best to consult a physician or a healthcare provider before making any decisions about your health. If you are underweight, you can come up with an appropriate diet plan. If you are overweight, you can take measures to lose weight and to return to a healthy BMI. 

2. Waist-to-Hip Ratio (WHR)

The waist-to-hip ratio, or WHR, is a tool that can help you determine if you have more abdominal weight than is healthy for your body. This measurement compares the size of the waist to hips to see if a person has healthy weight.

People who have an unhealthy amount of body fat around the waist are at a higher risk of developing heart diseases and diabetes. So, even if your BMI lies within a healthy range, your risk for certain diseases may still be very high. The general rule of the thumb is that the higher the measurement of the waist in relation to the hips, the greater the health risks associated with excessive weight gain.

How to Calculate Waist-to-Hip Ratio

Determining the WHR is easy. You can do it yourself at home or ask a physician or a healthcare provider to help you determine your WHR.

 Here’s how you can do it in three simple steps.

  • Use a measuring tape to measure around the narrowest part of the waist. This is the waist circumference value.
  • Measure around the widest part of your hips. This is the hip circumference value.  
  • Now, divide the waist circumference by your hip circumference. This will give you your waist-to-hip ratio.

So, if a person’s waist circumference is 28 inches and their hip circumference is 36, you can divide the two to find the WHR. In this case, the WHR would be 0.77.

But what does that mean? Let’s find out!  

WHR Guide – How Much Should I Weigh By Waist-to-Hip Ratio?

It is important to note the body shape plays an important role in determining the WHR value. Since men and women generally have different body shapes, the same WHR may mean different things for them.

  • For women, a healthy WHR is 0.8 or less
  • For men, a healthy WHR is 0.95 or less

If your WHR is greater than the indicated values, you may be at an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and other health risks due to unhealthy fat distribution in the body.

Take a look at the chart below to learn what your WHR may mean.

Health riskMalesFemales
Low0.95 or lower0.80 or lower
Moderate0.96 – 1.00.81 – 0.85
High1.0 or higher0.86 or higher

Keep in mind that these values may vary depending on the source and the population that they are being applied to. People from different ethnicities may have varying body types, which is why these values are not universal. Therefore, it is best to consult your doctor or healthcare provider to determine your WHR before taking any health decisions.  

The waist-to-hip ratio is a better health indicator than BMI. Plus, it is the preferred method for certain age groups. For example, it is a better tool to gauge obesity in older adults as compared to BMI. This is because, unlike WHR, BMI does not take into the fat distribution into account. Most adults have more body fat than muscle. So, even if they have a healthy BMI, they may be overweight and their risk for various weight-related diseases may be very high. 

There’s no denying that WHR is a better way to judge your weight and health. However, it also has limitations. Here are a few things to keep in mind when determining waist-hip-ratio.

  • Human error while taking the measurements can lead to a false WHR value. It is easy to make a mistake while taking the two measurements even when you are careful.
  • Gaining muscle around the hip area can result in a higher WHR. In such cases, WHR may not be the best health indicator for you.
  • WHR is not recommended for certain people. So, if you are shorter than 5 feet tall or have a BMI higher than 35, it is best to avoid using this method.
  • WHR is not suitable for children.   

If your WHR is not ideal, you can work with a healthcare provider to come up with a plan to burn belly fat naturally and lead a healthy life. 

1. Body Fat Percentage

If you are still wondering “how much should I weigh,” you can ask a health professional to measure your body fat percentage. Body fat percentage is another indicator of weight and health. 

Body Fat Percentage Guide – How Much Should I Weigh By Body Fat Percentage?

Just like the waist-to-hip ratio, the general guidelines for men and women differ and depend on the body type. However, the body fat percentage method takes things a step further and also considers the activity level of the individual.

Take a look at the chart below to learn what your body fat percentage may mean.

Activity levelMaleFemale
Athletes6 to 13%14 to 20%
Fit non-athletes14 to 17%21 to 24%
Acceptable18 to 25%25 to31%
Overweight26 to 37%32 to 41%
Obesity38% or more42% or more

One drawback of the body fat percentage method is that you cannot try it home. You will require special calipers for taking skinfold measurements.

The Bottom Line

How much should I weigh?

This is a common question that many people ask. If you are also wondering how much you should weigh, It is advisable to use the above-mentioned methods to determine the optimal weight. You can also ask your doctor to suggest some other methods. Remember, healthy weight is an indicator of good health!

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