How much should I weigh?

Many people want to know the answer to this question: How much should I weigh? However, there is not one ideal healthy weight for each person, because a number of different factors play a role. These include age, muscle-fat ratio, height, sex, and body fat distribution, or body shape.

Having excess weight can affect a person’s risk of developing a number of health conditions, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular problems.

Not everyone who carries extra weight develops health problems. However, researchers believe that while these extra pounds might not currently impact a person’ s health, a lack of management could lead to problems in the future.

Read on to find out about four ways of working out your ideal weight.

Method 1: BODY MASS INDEX (BMI)

Body mass index (BMI) is a common tool for deciding whether a person has an appropriate body weight. It measures a person’s weight in relation to their height.

Source: Medical News Today

Formula: BMI = weight (kg) / [height (m)]2

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH):

  • A BMI of less than 18.5 means that 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.

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
  • proportion or distribution of fat
  • proportion of muscle mass.

These, too, can have an impact on health.

High-performance athletes, for example, 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 are overweight.

BMI can also offer a rough idea of whether or not a person’s weight is healthy, 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 or not.

Method 2: WAIST-TO-HIP RATIO (WHR)

A person’s waist-to-hip measurement compares their waist size with that of their hips.

Research has shown that people who have more body fat around their middle are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes. The higher the waist measurement in proportion to the hips, the greater the risk.

For this reason, the waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) is a useful tool for calculating whether a person has a healthy weight and size.

Measure your waist-to-hip ratio

1. Measure around the waist in the narrowest part, usually just above the belly button.

2. Divide this measurement by the measurement around your hip at its widest part.

What does it mean?

How WHR affects the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) is different for men and women, because they tend to have different body shapes.

Evidence suggests that WHR can impact the risk of CVD as follows:

In males

  • Below 0.9: The risk of cardiovascular health problems is low
  • From 0.9 to 0.99: The risk is moderate
  • At 1.0 or over: The risk is high

In females

  • Below 0.8: The risk is low
  • From 0.8 to 0.89: The risk is moderate
  • At 0.9 or above: The risk is high.

However, these figures can vary, depending on the source and the population to which they apply.

WHR may be a better predictor of heart attacks and other health risks than BMI, which does not take fat distribution into consideration.

A study of health records for 1,349 people in 11 countries, published in 2013, showed that those with a higher WHR also have a greater risk of medical and surgical complications relating to colorectal surgery.

However, WHR does not accurately measure a person’s total body fat percentage, or their muscle-to-fat ratio.

Method 3: WAIST-TO-HEIGHT RATIO

Waist-to-height ratio (WHtR) is another tool that might predict the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and overall mortality more effectively than BMI.

A person whose waist measurement is less than half their height has a lower risk of a number of life-threatening health complications.

Measure your waist-to-height ratio

To calculate the WHtR, a person should divide their waist size by their height. If the answer is 0.5 or less, the chances are that they have a healthy weight.

A woman who is 5 feet and 4 inches tall (163 cm), should have a waist measurement below 32 inches (81 cm).

A man who is 6 feet or 183 centimeters (cm) tall, should have a waist measurement below 36 inches or 91 cm.

These measurements will give a WHtR of just under 0.5.

In a study published in 2014 in Plos One, researchers concluded that WHtR was a better predictor of mortality than BMI.

The authors also cited findings from another study — involving statistics for around 300,000 people from different ethnic groups — which concluded that WHtR is better than BMI at predicting heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and hypertension.

This suggests that the WHtR could be a useful screening tool.

Measurements that take waist size into account can be good indicators of a person’s health risks because fat that collects around the middle can be harmful for the heart, kidneys, and liver.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) note that a man with a waist size of 40 inches or above, or a woman with a waist size of 35 inches or above has a higher risk than other people of:

  • type 2 diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • coronary artery disease.

This does not, however, take a person’s height or hip size into consideration.

Method 4: BODY FAT PERCENTAGE

Body fat percentage is the weight of a person’s fat divided by their total weight.

Total body fat includes essential and storage fat.

  • Essential fat: A person needs essential fat to survive. It plays a role in a wide range of bodily functions. For men, it is healthy to have 2 to 4 percent of their body composition as essential fat. For women, the figure is 10 to 13 percent, according to the American Council on Exercise (ACE).
  • Storage fat: Fatty tissue protects the internal organs in the chest and abdomen, and the body can use it if necessary for energy.
Source: ucsdzone

Apart from the approximate guidelines for men and women, the ideal total fat percentage can depend on a person’s body type or activity level.

ACE recommend the following percentages:

Activity levelMale body typeFemale body type
Athletes6 – 13%14 – 20%
Fit non-athletes14 – 17%21 – 24%
Acceptable18 – 25%25 – 31%
Overweight26 – 37%32 – 41%
Obesity38% or more42% or more

A high proportion of body fat can indicate a greater risk of:

  • diabetes
  • heart disease
  • high blood pressure
  • stroke.

Calculating body fat percentage may be a good way to measure a person’s fitness level because it reflects the person’s body composition. BMI, in contrast, does not distinguish between fat and muscle mass.

How to measure body fat

The most common ways of measuring body fat percentage is to use a skinfold measurement, which uses special calipers to pinch the skin.

The health professional will measure tissue on the thigh, abdomen, chest (for men) or upper arm (for women). The techniques provide an accurate reading within around 3.5 percent, according to ACE.

Other techniques include:

  • hydrostatic body fat measuring, or “underwater weighing”
  • air densitometry, which measures air displacement
  • dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA)
  • bioelectrical impedance analysis.

None of these can give a 100-percent accurate reading, but the estimates are close enough to give a reasonable assessment.

Many gyms and doctor’s offices have devices for measuring a person’s body fat percentage.

TAKEAWAY

Body mass index (BMI), waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), waist-to-height ratio (WHtR), and body-fat percentage are four ways of assessing a healthy weight.

Combining them may be the best way to get an accurate idea of whether you should consider taking action or not.

Anyone who is concerned about their weight, waist size, or body composition should speak to a doctor or nutritionist. They will be able to advise about suitable options.

Source: Medical News Today

About STELLA

Stellapharm is one of leading generics pharmaceutical companies and strong producer of anti-viral drugs in Vietnam. The company established in Vietnam in 2000; and focuses on both prescription drugs and non-prescription especially in cardiovascular diseases, antiviral drugs, anti-diabetics drugs, etc. and our products are now used by millions of patients in more than 50 countries worldwide.

The company is globally recognized for its quality through our facilities have been audited and approved by stringent authority like EMA, PMDA, Taiwan GMP, local WHO and others.

Additional information for this article: Stellapharm J.V. Co., Ltd. – Branch 1
A: 40 Tu Do Avenue, Vietnam – Singapore Industrial Park, An Phu Ward, Thuan An City, Binh Duong Province, Vietnam
T: +84 274 376 7470 | F: +84 274 376 7469 | E: info@stellapharm.com | W: www.stellapharm.com

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