How Much Should Your Ideal Weight Be?

Contrary to popular belief, there is no set weight for any height. Of course, you will find a chart online or at the doctor’s office that will give you an estimate of what your weight should be, but there are other factors that come into play.

You weight will depend on many variables — your height, age, sex, body fat percentage and even pre-existing medical conditions. For example, a 20-year-old woman who is 5ft 5in tall and very athletic will weigh differently from a woman in her 50s who is of the same height but has had kids and suffers from diabetes. The healthy and optimum weight for both these women, who might have the same height, will differ.

To get a better understanding of the height/weight ratio, many experts recommend following the BMI chart.

The BMI Method For Determining The Right Weight For A Specific Height:

The BMI method will tell you how much your ideal weight should be based on your height. Some BMI charts will ask for your gender and age, while others might not.

The formula for calculating BMI is:

  1. Weight (measured in kg) / [Height (measured in m)]2
  2. To calculate your BMI, divide your weight in kg by your height in metres squared.

Adults over 20 years of age should have a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9. The resulting figure will give you a rough estimate of how much weight you need to lose to be within normal limits. BMI has limitations because it only offers you a number that is broadly measured by your height and your weight and doesn’t count other variables. Even then, BMI is a good way to know whether you are overweight or obese, which only means that you are more prone to chronic diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and high blood pressure that are a result of excess weight.

But only knowing your BMI is not the best way to measure your ideal weight as per your height.

The Limitations Of BMI Method:

BMI is a very simple calculation. It will take into account your gender, activity levels and height to determine the right weight for you. What it omits is the chest, hips and waist measurements, which are equally important to determine the right weight for you. Muscle weight and bone density will also play a role in your overall weight. An athlete who has rippled muscles will probably weight more than a slim and fit doctor, because their fitness levels are different and their muscle mass is different too. Similarly, those who have heavier bones will weigh more as compared to those with lower bone density, even though they might have the same height.

Many experts will also tell you that calculating your BMI is not the most ideal way to know how much you should weigh based on your height. Other variables that must be given due consideration are bone density, fitness levels, body fat percentage and even hip to waist ratio. It has been noticed that a woman who has a delicate bone structure but has a paunch and is otherwise not fit will sometimes have a lower BMI as compared to a woman with stronger bones, who is more physically fit and has the same height. So basing your judgement just on BMI is not accurate — you need to use a few other methods to determine what you ideal weight should be.

How To Determine Optimum Weight?

Now that we have determined that just your height is not the best way to know what your ideal weight should be, let us talk about other methods.

The Waist To Hip Ratio Method To Determine Accurate Weight:

Measure the circumference of your hips and waist using a measuring tape. To calculate the ratio, divide your waist size by your hip size. Experts believe that this method is better for determining excess weight around the belly; and this is the weight that causes most problems. Having excess weight around the belly as compared to excess weight around the hips means you are more prone to heart diseases, diabetes and high BP.

Results according to National Institute of Health are:

  • If the ratio is 0.95 or below for a male or 0.80 or below for a female, you have an ideal waist to hip ratio, which leads to lower health risks.
  • If the ratio is 0.96 to 1.0 for a male or 0.81 to 0.85 for a female, then you have a moderate health risk and should aim to reduce your waist to hip measurement.
  • If the ratio is 1 or above for a male or 0.85 and above for a female, you have a potential high health risk and should take immediate measures to lose the weight on your waist.

The Body Fat Percentage Method To Determine Accurate Weight:

The ideal way to know whether your weight is optimum as per your height is to calculate your body fat percentage. This method takes into account your muscle mass and fitness levels, which mean that it will determine how much fat reserves you have and whether or not they are in excess in relation to your height. Get a body fat test done by using callipers or get it checked at a health centre. Now divide the fat percentage in your body by your body weight. The percentage should be:

  • For women, within eight to 12 per cent because women require more fat reserves
  • For men, within three to five per cent


Each person has a different body type, and none of the abovementioned methods take into account all parameters. Some omit activity levels, while others omit gender, age and muscle mass. For best results, get all the three tests and make sure you are within safe limits in all. And even then, sometimes a fitness buff who eats right and exercises well will find that his or her results come on the higher side in all, as compared to a skinny friend who doesn’t eat a healthy diet or exercises.

Just remember, your weight is a figure exclusive to you and as long as you have a healthy weight that doesn’t increase your risk towards diseases, be satisfied with the way you look.

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