Set a Healthy Goal Weight: How To Calculate Your Ideal Weight
Models look like they weight a whopping 90 pounds soaking wet and they make it seem like it’s the ideal. But believe me, they are far from it. Sadly, so is the average American.
What would you guess the average weight for women is? What about the average weight for a man? Any takers?
Well, I’ll tell you, in 1960, the average weight for a 5’ 4” female was 140 lbs. That number increased to 152 lbs in 1990, and then to 163 lbs in the year 2000! The average weight for women 5’4” increased 10 pounds in 10 years!
While I don’t have previous statistics for the average weight for men by height and age, the current average height and weight for men is 5’ 10” and 189 lbs. But I’m guessing that with the rise in desk jobs and decline in manual labor, the trend mirrors the increase the women experienced.
The current average body weight for height and age is NOT the recommended weight for height.
What is The Ideal Weight For My Height?
There is an ideal body weight (IBW) which is dependent on age, sex, and height. Doctor’s use this IBW for determining dosage amounts of medicine though and warn that it is not useful for determining obesity. How they determine this IBW is through an ideal body weight formula, such as the Devine formula; however, there’s a simple rule you can use instead:
Men: Allow 110 lbs for the first 5 feet then an additional 5 lbs for every inch taller.
Women: Allow 100 lbs for the first 5 feet then an additional 5 lbs for every inch taller.
So, the ideal weight for 5’ 4” female that we mentioned earlier would be:
100 + (4in * 5lbs) = 120 lbs
Note: That is not 163 lbs
I want to stress that this is an approximate. This does not take into consideration muscle mass or bone density, in fact it has been suggested that this approximate has been found to be lower than the right weight for height.
If The Ideal Might Be Too Low, What’s The Correct Weight For Height?
Every person has a different body type, which also means there is no perfect weight for height. So how do you find out the appropriate weight for your height and age?
Am I At A Healthy Weight For My Height?
If you just want to know if you are generally healthy, here are a few methods to try.
BMI: One way to find out if you are the appropriate weight for your height and age is with the Body Mass Index (BMI). The BMI uses your age, height, weight, and gender to rate your body mass as underweight, normal, overweight, or obese. Although this is a helpful tool, it has some limitations and should not be used alone. For example, if you have a greater muscle mass you may have a higher BMI even though you are not overweight.
Waist Circumference: Why would I measure my waist, just to tell me I’m fat? Abdominal fat correlates with your health, so the circumference of a woman’s waist should not exceed 35 inches; a measurement greater than 35 inches increases your risk for health problems.
How To Find YOUR Ideal Weight For Height and Age
Instead of focusing on an ideal for anyone, customize it for yourself and focus on losing body fat. To start you need to know two things:
1) Current Weight: Weigh yourself on a scale.
2) Current Body Fat Percentage: There are a few ways to measure this including under water testing and lab machines, but there are a few you can do at home.
Fat Caliper: You know that scene in the movie Heavy Weights where they’re all weighing in and they use that pincher looking thing and it gives the fat boy a bloody nose? That’s what a fat caliper is. This is used to do skin-fold testing at certain sites of the body and tells you your percent body fat.
Height & Circumference: This is called the US Navy method which uses your height and circumferences of waist, hips, etc in a formula to estimate your percent body fat. There are tons of calculators for this online.
It’s easy to do at home, but if you’d rather have someone else do this, you can go to a gym and have a personal trainer do it, or go to your doctor.
Setting Your Goal
2) Set Your Goal Body Fat Percentage
The American Council on Exercise Guidelines gives these recommendations:
Essential Male: 3%-5% BF
Essential Female: 8%-12% BF
Fit Male: 14%-17% BF
Fit Female: 21%-24% BF
Acceptable Male: 18%-24% BF
Acceptable Female: 25%-21% BF
Obese Male: 25% + BF
Obese Female: 32% + BF
3) Calculate Your Goal Weight
LBM / (1 – Goal %BF) = Goal Weight
Male: 200 lbs with 25% BF
1) 200 lbs – (200 lbs * 25% BF) = 150 lbs LBM
2) Goal of 17% BF
3) 150 lbs LBM / (1 – 17%) = 180 lbs Goal Weight
What Am I Supposed to Get From All Of This About Proper Weight For Height?
There are tons of ways to figure out what your average weight for height should be and there are calculators all over the internet or you can get a ballpark range by using the equation: 100lbs for the first 5 feet (110 for males) and then 5lbs for every inch after that.
The BMI or the waist circumference is a great tool to tell if you are generally healthy and to see how much improvement you need to make. But if you are looking to set a goal weight then I recommend you use the equations to find out your specific body fat percentage and set your goal from there based on how much body fat you want to lose.