The ideal weight

It's not enough to weigh yourself or look in a mirror: there are exact formulas to indicate what is your appropriate weight according to your body type, sex and age.

The ideal weight

+ Generally, when you want to find out how much you weigh you simply get on the scales and find out if you've gone up or down a few pounds/kilos. Sometimes you're disappointed, sometimes enthused. However, your weight can be measured more precisely. Everyone has a different body type, and our weight does not always reflect if we are carrying extra pounds or if our body is healthy. There are a number of ways to precisely measure if our weight is healthy, using methods accepted by international health organizations.

The ways to measure:

1. Body Mass Index. Body Mass Index or BMI is now the most common tool used to measure obesity. To calculate your BMI the first step is stepping on a scale to find out how much is your real weight (without shoes and with light clothing). Next, find out your actual height, making sure to stand up straight. Stand with your head, buttocks, and feet touching a vertical wall. If this is not possible due to large amounts of body fat, simply stand erect; with hands relaxed at your sides. Look forward and keep your head straight and in an upright position. (You may be surprised because you thought your height was higher. Your height can vary with your age, if the vertebrae in the spine begin to compress. Bad posture, sedentary lifestyle and lack of stretching generally cause this). BMI measures your weight relative to your height. The ideal range is 18.5-24.9. A person with a BMI between 25 and 30 is considered to be overweight and a BMI over 30 indicates obesity (see Are you overweight? box).

2. Measuring your waist. Another way to find out if you are at risk of being overweight is by measuring your waist. You should measure your waist precisely (see Your waist is your health box). The WHO (World Health Organization) reports that a healthy person's waist should measure a maximum of 31.5 in/80 cm for women and 37 in/94 cm for men. If your waist measures more than these figures, it's a red light indicating that you are overweight. When the measurement is over 34.5 in/88 cm for women and 40 in/102 cm for men it's a sign that you are at serious risk, because there is an increase in fatty tissue around the digestive organs in the abdominal area, this type of weight gain can be very risky for the health.

3. Body fat percentage. This figure is obtained with the Deurenberg figure, which requires a number of calculations. Normally medical specialists or nutritionists can work out this figure. The result is a percentage that indicates whether you are overweight.


The waist circumference is a reliable method of estimating the intra abdominal fat mass and measuring your weight. To make sure you are taking the measurement properly keep in mind:

  1. Don't measure the waist level you use for your clothes, but measure a little bit above the belly button.
  2. The recommended level is halfway between the iliac crest (the hipbone) and the edge of the last and lowest rib.


Find out how to calculate your BMI. To use this calculation you need to know your exact weight. The following is the formula:

Are you overweight

Depending on the results of the calculation, you'll know if your weight is healthy:

  1. Underweight : when the BMI is less than 18.5.
  2. Normal or healthy weight: when your BMI is between 18.6 and 24.9.
  3. Overweight : when the BMI is between 25 and 29.9.
  4. Obesity : when your BMI is more than 30.

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