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Health and Fitness News

Your Ideal Weight

Ever wonder how much you should weigh to be healthy?

Chances are pretty good that you have a picture in your mind of what you’d like to weigh. Maybe it’s what you weighed back when you graduated from college or got married. Since then, you’ve likely put on a few pounds that you wish you could lose. Perhaps you compare yourself to the people around you or the people you see on television or in magazines. There’s no doubt the media has influenced what you envision your ideal weight to be. If only your body looked like movie stars or magazine models, you’d be happy and healthy, right?

Unfortunately, many people have an unrealistic idea of what their ideal weight should be. Is there even such a thing as an ideal weight? While obesity is associated with a host of negative health conditions, being a few pounds overweight may be just as healthy if you’re content and have a healthy relationship with food.

If you’re interested in learning a few different ways to determine what a healthy weight is for your age, height, and sex, keep reading.

Measurement 1: BMI

Many health professionals consider body mass index (BMI) to be the closest predictor of ideal weight. BMI is a measurement of your weight in comparison to your height. While it does have its weaknesses, BMI is helpful for measuring body fat and estimating your general risk for disease. That said, what it fails to take into account is the amount of muscle or bone you have. Because of this, you may weigh more than is typical for your height, but you’re perfectly healthy because all those extra pounds are muscle. Without measuring your waist, hips, or chest, BMI can underestimate the amount of body fat obese people have and overestimate the amount of fat in fit and trim people.

 Still interested? Use an online calculator for simple figuring. A BMI under 18.5 is considered underweight, between 18.5 and 25 is ideal, between 25 and 30 is overweight, and greater than 30 is obese.

Measurement 2: Waist Circumference

Because belly fat is generally a good predictor of health, many people use waist circumference as a way to determine ideal weight. Use a tape measure placed on your skin right above your hipbones to measure the distance around your waist right after you exhale. You may be overweight in other areas of your body, but abdominal fat is considered a more serious threat to your good health. Excess fat around your middle is associated with a greater risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease, therefore the bigger your waist, the greater your risk of disease. Women whose waist measures more than 35 inches and men whose waist is greater than 40 inches are not at an ideal weight.

Measurement 3: Waist-to-Hip Ratio

A third way to determine ideal weight is to figure out your waist-to-hip ratio (WHR). Do this by measuring your waist circumference and the distance around your hips at their widest location. A low risk for disease is associated with a ratio less than 0.80. A ratio of 0.81 to 0.85 is associated with a moderate health risk and a ratio greater than 0.85 is a sign you need to lose weight.


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