As people are becoming more and more health conscious, there is one question that usually comes in the mind. It is **‘how much should I weigh?’** Well, the answer to this question is not **that simple as it looks**. There are many factors that need to consider before answering this question like **age, height, bone density, sex, and muscle-fat ratio and so on**. You simply can’t take just one of the factors and come to a conclusion regarding your ideal body weight.

Basically, there are two options for you to find your ideal weight. First, you can make an appointment to visit a nutritionist or a medical professional who can analysis and find out your most healthy ideal weight. However, as visiting a nutritionist or medical professional is an expensive task, this option is limited to those who can afford it. The second option is to make some easy calculations to have an idea about what weight you should be. This is a more practical option for many people.

You just need to have some basic ideas **to calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI).** The Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measurement tool that **compares your height to your weight and gives you an indication of whether you are overweight, underweight or at a healthy weight for your height**. This is the best way to decide whether your body weight is ideal. Generally, there are two ways to calculate your Body Mass Index:

In the first case, you can **measure BMI by using inches and pounds**. For example a person having weight of 170 lbs and height of 5’6? (66?) inches will have a BMI of 27.4. The calculation goes like this: [170 ÷ (66)²] x 703 = 27.4

In the second case, you can **measure BMI by using meters and kilograms**. For example a person having weight 75kg and height of 162 cm (1.62m) will have a BMI of 28.6. The calculation goes like this: [75 ÷ (1.62)²] = 28.6

If you don’t love math, there are many simple BMI calculators available online. Just have your height and weight information and you can calculate BMI online.

**Health authorities worldwide mostly agree that**:

• A BMI of less than 18 means you are under weight.

• A BMI of less than 18.5 indicates you are thin for your height.

• A BMI between 18.6 and 24.9 indicates you are at a healthy weight.

• A BMI between 25 and 29.9 suggests you are overweight for your height.

• A BMI of 30 or greater indicates obesity. If you are obese, consider consulting a doctor or losing weight.

** Note:** The above mentioned BMI scores are applicable to adults of 20 years or more.

However, there is a big question mark on whether **Body Mass Index (BMI) is a good measure to calculate your ideal weight**. Well, the answer is NO as according to **World Health Organization (WHO**); BMI values are neither subject to age nor gender. Also BMI measurement does not take into account the person’s **waist, chest or hip measurements**. BMI categories also fail to account for varying proportions of fat, bone density, cartilage, water weight, and more. For example an athlete or a sports person will have a BMI level that indicates overweight” or even “obese”, due to their higher levels of muscle mass. On the other hand, a person having a big belly, not much muscle and a lot of body fat on his hips, upper thighs and other parts of his body may have the ideal BMI.

BMI maybe useful for most men and women to find out the ideal body weight but in some cases it is not a good idea. For instance, BMI may overestimate body fat in athletes or in those with higher muscularity; and it may also underestimate body fat in older persons or those who have lost muscle mass. In simple world, BMI **underestimates the amount of body fat in overweight/obese people and overestimates it in lean or muscular people**. It is essential to understand the fact that BMI can serve only as a general guideline.

Another option to find your perfect body weight is the **Waist-hip ratio (WHR).** This is the **ratio of the circumference of the waist to that of the hips**. This ratio is an important tool that helps you determine your overall health risk and whether you are overweight or underweight.

People with more weight around the waist; face more health risks than people who carry more weight around their hips. It is a simple and useful measure of fat distribution. To find out the Waist-hip ratio (WHR), use a measuring tape to check the waist and hip measurements. **Measure your hip circumference at its widest part and measure your Waist Circumference at the belly button or just above it**. For example if a woman’s waist is 30 inches and her hips are 38 inches, her WHR is 30 divided by 38 = 0.78

**WHO STEPS and The National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)** believe that waist–hip ratio above 0.90 for males and above 0.85 for females are at increased health risk because of their fat distribution. A woman with a WHR of less than 0.8 is generally healthier and more fertile as compared to females with higher WHRs. Similarly, men with a WHR no more than 9 are generally healthier and more fertile as compared to men with higher WHRs, and less likely to develop serious conditions or diseases.

**Below is the Waist- hip ratio chart:**

In fact, Waist-hip ration (WHR) is a much **better indicator of whether their body weight is ideal or not as compared to BMI**. Also WHR helps in indicating whether you have **apple shaped body or pear shaped body**.

People who tend to gain weight mostly in their hips and buttocks have roughly a pear body shape, while people who tend to gain weight mostly in the abdomen have more of an apple body shape. The general rule is if you have a WHR (Waist-to-Hip Ratio) on or above 0.8 you have an apple shaped body. On the other hand, with WHR under 0.8 it indicated you have a pear shaped body. **Apple shaped bodies have larger WHR and higher health risks as compared to people with pear-shaped bodies**.

There are several studies conducted by WHO STEPS and The National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) that W**HR is a better predictor of ideal weight and health risks than BMI**. However, there is one negative aspect also with WHR. It does not accurately measure a **person’s total body fat percentage**, or their muscle-to-fat ratio which will be of immense help to find out your ideal weight.

By **body fat percentage, we mean the total weight of your fat divided by your total weight**. The result indicates your essential fat as well as storage fat. ‘Essential fat’ is the minimum amount of fat necessary for basic physical and physiological health. The percentage of essential body fat for women is greater than that for men, due to the demands of childbearing and other hormonal functions. **Essential fat is 2%-5% in men, and 10%-13% in women**. On the other hand, storage body fat consists of fat accumulation in adipose tissue, part of which protects internal organs in the chest and abdomen.

**Calculating your body fat percentage is not a simple task**. If you are a member of a gym or fitness club, you can ask your trainer to calculate your body fat percentage. In case you want to do it on your own, here is the formula to calculate body fat percentage.

__Body Fat Formula for Women__

Factor 1: (Total body weight x 0.732) + 8.987

Factor 2: Wrist measurement (at fullest point) / 3.140

Factor 3: Waist measurement (at naval) x 0.157

Factor 4: Hip measurement (at fullest point) x 0.249

Factor 5: Forearm measurement (at fullest point) x 0.434

Lean Body Mass Factor 1 + Factor 2 – Factor 3 – Factor 4 + Factor 5

Body Fat Weight Total bodyweight – Lean Body Mass

Body Fat Percentage (Body Fat Weight x 100) / total bodyweight

For example, a woman that weighs 125 pounds, and has a wrist measurement of 6.0, a waist measurement of 24, a hip measurement of 38, and a forearm measurement of 9.5 will have a body fat percentage of 25.368

__Body Fat Formula for Men__

Factor 1: (Total body weight x 1.082) + 94.42

Factor 2: Waist measurement x 4.15

Lean Body Mass Factor 1 – Factor 2

Body Fat Weight Total bodyweight – Lean Body Mass

Body Fat Percentage (Body Fat Weight x 100) / total bodyweight

For example, a man that weighs 190 pounds and has a waist measurement of 30.5 will have a body fat percentage of 8.72%.

With the above mentioned formula, you can find out your body fat percentage. **The American Council on Exercise (ACE) recommends the following body fat percentages**:

Once you know your body fat percentage, you can come to a conclusion regarding your ideal weight and will also help in making a realistic weight loss goal.

To conclude, with your **BMI, WHR, or Body Fat Percentage you can know your ideal weight**. It is essential to remember that one person’s ideal body weight may be completely different from another’s. So, there is no need for you to compare yourself to family members, friends and others. Comparing will not help and it will make you more confused and depressed. Instead concentrate on your lifestyle and body type to find your ideal body weight. Most importantly, the key to losing and keeping a healthy weight is a healthy lifestyle.

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