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What is a Healthy Weight for You?

Throughout the years, you may have seen insurance charts that list “Ideal Body Weight” according to height. Unfortunately, what is considered a healthy weight for you is not a “one number fits all” situation. We are all unique, so these charts can be irrelevant. Some of us have more bone mass and muscle mass than others. Body mass index (BMI) helps account for some of these differences and allows you to see where you fall within a healthy weight range.

BMI

BMI, or Body Mass Index, is a calculation based upon height and weight. BMI is used as a health care screening tool for body fatness and helps provide insight on what a “healthy weight range” for your height would be. For example, the healthy weight range for individuals 5 feet 6 inches is considered 118 - 154 pounds. This is a range of 36 pounds. Therefore, it’s important to know that when used alone, BMI isn’t necessarily a prediction of your health risk. Other health risk factors would need to be considered by a physician before action is taken. For all its usefulness, BMI is not an absolute. Certain individuals with a great deal of muscle mass can easily fall within the overweight range, though their percent of body fat would indicate otherwise. This is due to the fact that muscle weighs more than fat. Also, women and older individuals typically have more body fat than men and younger individuals at the same BMI.

What does the number mean?

Your BMI falls within a certain weight status category: underweight, normal, overweight, and obese. Here’s how the categories break down:

BMIWeight Status
< 18.5Underweight
18.5 - 24.9Normal
25.0 - 29.9 Overweight
> 30Obese

How to use your BMI

If your BMI falls within the underweight, overweight, or obese categories, follow-up with a physician to discuss. He or she may feel other health screenings need to be done to determine your current health status and/or if a weight loss or weight gain program is appropriate. Even if your BMI falls within normal, weight maintenance may still be warranted. Click here to learn more about maintaining a healthy weight.

Calculate your BMI

BMI is an important number to know for adults, children, and teens alike. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website offers an online BMI calculator for each age group. Click here to calculate your BMI.