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What is the Best Way to Determine my Ideal Weight?

Autumn Rivers
By
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Achieving an ideal weight is something many people would like to do, but not knowing what the magic number is could stop some people from even trying. Fortunately, there are a few ways to determine the best weight for your body, and they typically rely on factors like age, height, and sex. Some also take into account frame size, amount of muscle, and waist to hip ratio. The most common methods include determining your body mass index, body fat percentage, and waist to hip ratio.

The body mass index, or BMI, is one of the most popular ways that people can find their ideal weight. This number can typically be found for free online, either in the form of a height weight table or a weight calculator. Most methods of determining BMI take into account weight and height only, which means that muscle and frame size are not typically calculated.

In general, a BMI of 18.5 or less is considered underweight. Above that number and less than 25 is the normal range, and a result over 25 is overweight. A BMI of more than 30 is obese. Considering that muscle weighs more than fat, many athletes are told they are overweight according to this method. For this reason, most doctors recommend that this method of determining ideal weight be used only as a general ballpark figure, especially if you have a lot of muscle.

One procedure that is often considered more accurate for those with muscle is body fat calculation. There are ways to measure body fat percentage online for free, mainly by entering measurements of the neck, waist, and hips into a calculator. Weight, height, sex, and average activity level are also factors that are usually considered. Generally, healthy women have a body fat percentage of 25 to 31%, while men are better off between 18 and 25%. To get a truly accurate result, it is often necessary to go to a gym either be measured with calipers or weighed underwater.

Measuring the waist to hip ratio is another method of figuring out if you are at the ideal weight and in shape in general. First measure the smallest part of the waist, which is typically just above the belly button. Next, the widest part of the hips is measured, and then the waist measurement is divided by the hip measurement. For women, .8 or less carries the lowest chance of heart problems, while up to .89 carries moderate risk, followed by .9 or more with the highest risk. Meanwhile, for men, less than .9 is the healthiest number to have, while up to .99 indicates moderate risk of heart problems, and 1 or more has the highest.

Determining ideal weight is a task that can be done online in most cases. If accurate results are desired, going to a doctor or gym to get it done professionally is likely the best method. Not only can reaching an ideal weight make you feel confident, but you will also likely be at the lowest risk for weight-related medical conditions.

TheHealthBoard is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Autumn Rivers
By Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers, a talented writer for TheHealthBoard, holds a B.A. in Journalism from Arizona State University. Her background in journalism helps her create well-researched and engaging content, providing readers with valuable insights and information on a variety of subjects.

Discussion Comments

By anon173435 — On May 07, 2011

i am 32 years old. I'm married and my weight is 32 and my height is 5 feet, and I'm married and i want to reach my ideal weight. My belly has turned really soft and big after pregnancy. Please suggest some tips for weight loss.

By oasis11 — On Nov 17, 2010

Suntan12-Health Central has a great ideal body weight calculator. It asks you your body frame first and helps you determine this by asking if your fingers overlap, touch slightly or don’t touch at all.

If they overlap then you have a small frame, if they barely touch you have a medium frame and if they do not touch at all you have a large frame.

They also ask you about your current weight as well as your height. Then they offer you a proper weight range for your height and frame. I am 5’5” and they told me that my ideal weight was 136 to 150 lbs. They also told me about other forms of body fat testing such as hydrostatic weighing, which is underwatering weighing and skin fold testing.

These methods for determining body fat composition are said to be the most accurate for measuring the ideal weight for women and the ideal weight for men.

By suntan12 — On Nov 17, 2010

Dega2010- I know that Weight Watchers has guidelines regarding to ideal weight ranges. For example, a woman that is 5’4 will have a minimum healthy weight of 117 and a maximum healthy weight of 146.

This allows for a BMI range from 20-25 for an ideal weight chart. However, many lifetime members have weight goals slightly outside of these ranges, but according to Weight Watchers they must never be lower than a 20 BMI rating.

Your BMI ideal weight will usually fall within these BMI ranges which is really considered the ideal weight range.

By dega2010 — On Aug 18, 2010

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says that the average U.S. woman is approximately 5’4” and weighs around 152 pounds. That is a BMI of 26.3.

The average U.S. male is approximately 5’9” and weighs around 180 pounds which is a BMI of 26.5.

Autumn Rivers

Autumn Rivers

Autumn Rivers, a talented writer for TheHealthBoard, holds a B.A. in Journalism from Arizona State University. Her background in journalism helps her create well-researched and engaging content, providing readers with valuable insights and information on a variety of subjects.
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