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One way to determine your ideal weight is by using the body mass index (BMI). The BMI is a number based on your weight and height. In general, the higher the number, the more body you have. Enter your height and weight to the left to find your BMI. Use this number to determine whether you are at a healthy weight.

 

Your Score

Health Rating

Below 18.5

Underweight

18.5 – 24.9

Healthy/Normal weight

25 – 29.9

Overweight

30 -39.9

Obese

40 and over

Extremely Obese

If your BMI falls outside an ideal range, use the BMI table to figure out an appropriate weight based on your height. 

Measuring Body Fat

Although BMI gives you a good estimate of total body fat, it doesn’t work well for everybody. It may not be accurate for people with greater muscle mass (such as athletes) or in

people who may have lost muscle mass due to aging or illness. Another way to help determine your ideal weight is to have yourbody fat measured with calipers. This method involves measuring the thickness of your skin folds to help determine how much fat mass you have. Ask your doctors or exercise specialist where you can have this test performed.

The charts below from the World Health Organization indicate ideal body fat percentages for men and women.

Women

Age

Under-fat

Healthy Range

Overweight

Obese

20-40 yrs

Under 21%

21-33%

33-39%

Over 39%

41-60 yrs

Under 23%

23-35%

35-40%

Over 40%

61-79 yrs

Under 24%

24-36%

36-42%

Over 42%

Men

Age

Under-fat

Healthy Range

Overweight

Obese

20-40 yrs

Under 8%

8-19%

19-25%

Over 25%

41-60 yrs

Under 11%

11-22%

22-27%

Over 27%

61-79 yrs

Under 13%

13-25%

25-30%

Over 30%

Source: Gallagher et al. Am J Clin Nut 2000; 72:694-701

 

The good news is physical activity not only helps prevent and reverse weight gain, it also helps to lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and some types of cancer recurrence. Regular aerobic exercise and resistance training are two of the best ways to help you maintain an ideal weight.