Finding a healthy weight is different for everyone. In general, there are three things to consider when determining your healthy weight:
Physicians often use a mathematical formula called body mass index, or BMI, to assess a healthy weight range for each person. The formula takes into account your height in inches and your weight in pounds; the result can tell you and your doctor if you are not achieving a healthy weight, which puts you at a greater risk for developing serious health problems.
According to the National Institutes of Health, a BMI score means the following:
- Below 18.5 – underweight
- 18.6 – 24.9 – normal weight
- 25 – 29.9 – overweight
- 30 and above – obese
For waist size, the calculation is straightforward. A waist measurement of 35 inches or more for women and 40 or more for men puts a person at a greater risk for developing conditions like heart disease or type 2 diabetes.
To find your waist circumference, stand up straight, relax your stomach muscles, hold a cloth tape measure at the level of your navel and circle your waist with it. The tape measure should lay snug (not pulled tight) against the skin.
Reference ranges for waist circumference and BMI ratio and risk of disease in women:
Waist Less than 35"
Waist Greater than 35"
18.5 - 24.9
25.0 - 29.9
** Increased waist circumference can also be a marker for increased risk even in people of normal weight