One of the first things you need to know when you’re trying to lose weight is the ideal weight you should aim for. The ideal weight for women is different for each individual, however, as there are a number of factors that determine how much a woman’s healthy weight should be. Read on to find out how to determine your healthy weight goal.
Factors that Determine the Ideal Weight for Women
Age, height, body mass index (BMI), and body fat percentage are the major factors that determine the ideal weight for women. Having the ideal weight, in turn, is one of the key factors in overall health. Being overweight or obese can increase your risk for a number of health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular problems, and bone problems.
So how can you calculate what your ideal weight should be?
Body Mass Index (BMI)
How much you should weigh is not just dependent on your height, but also on your body composition – more specifically, the amount of bone, fat, and muscle you have.
The body mass index, or BMI, is a fairly accurate measurement of the amount of fat you carry and is calculated using your height and weight. It determines whether your weight is within the normal or healthy range, with normal fat to height to weight ratio; below normal, or underweight; or if you are overweight or obese.
- Ideal weight – a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9
- Underweight – a BMI less than 18.5
- Overweight – a BMI between 25 and 29.9
- Obese – a BMI over 30
Remember, though, that BMI values are still only approximations and should only serve as a rough guide. Your body shape and age also plays a factor in what your ideal weight should be. Other indicators of health in terms of body composition are the distribution and proportion of body fat; hip or waist circumference; and muscle mass. For example, high-performance athletes may have a high BMI because they have greater muscle mass but very little body fat, so their BMI will not be an accurate measure of whether or not their weight is within the healthy range.
Consult your primary care doctor if you are concerned about your BMI or want to lose weight.
Using BMI values, below is a weight and height chart that shows the ideal weight based on height.
|4ft 10″(58″)||91 to 115 lbs.||119 to 138 lbs.||143 to 186 lbs.||191 to 258 lbs.|
|4ft 11″(59″)||94 to 119 lbs.||124 to 143 lbs.||148 to 193 lbs.||198 to 267 lbs.|
|5ft(60″)||97 to 123 lbs.||128 to 148 lbs.||153 to 199 lbs.||204 to 276 lbs.|
|5ft 1″(61″)||100 to 127 lbs.||132 to 153 lbs.||158 to 206 lbs.||211 to 285 lbs.|
|5ft 2″(62″)||104 to 131 lbs.||136 to 158 lbs.||164 to 213 lbs.||218 to 295 lbs.|
|5ft 3″(63″)||107 to 135 lbs.||141 to 163 lbs.||169 to 220 lbs.||225 to 304 lbs.|
|5ft 4″(64″)||110 to 140 lbs.||145 to 169 lbs.||174 to 227 lbs.||232 to 314 lbs.|
|5ft 5″(65″)||114 to 144 lbs.||150 to 174 lbs.||180 to 234 lbs.||240 to 324 lbs.|
|5ft 6″(66″)||118 to 148 lbs.||155 to 179 lbs.||186 to 241 lbs.||247 to 334 lbs.|
|5ft 7″(67″)||121 to 153 lbs.||159 to 185 lbs.||191 to 249 lbs.||255 to 344 lbs.|
|5ft 8″(68″)||125 to 158 lbs.||164 to 190 lbs.||197 to 256 lbs.||262 to 354 lbs.|
|5ft 9″(69″)||128 to 162 lbs.||169 to 196 lbs.||203 to 263 lbs.||270 to 365 lbs.|
|5ft 10″(70″)||132 to 167 lbs.||174 to 202 lbs.||209 to 271 lbs.||278 to 376 lbs.|
|5ft 11″(71″)||136 to 172 lbs.||179 to 208 lbs.||215 to 279 lbs.||286 to 386 lbs.|
|6ft(72″)||140 to 177 lbs.||184 to 213 lbs.||221 to 287 lbs.||294 to 397 lbs.|
|6ft 1″(73″)||144 to 182 lbs.||189 to 219 lbs.||227 to 295 lbs.||302 to 408 lbs.|
|6ft 2″(74″)||148 to 186 lbs.||194 to 225 lbs.||233 to 303 lbs.||311 to 420 lbs.|
|6ft 3″(75″)||152 to 192 lbs.||200 to 232 lbs.||240 to 311 lbs.||319 to 431 lbs.|
|6ft 4″(76″)||156 to 197 lbs.||205 to 238 lbs.||246 to 320 lbs.||328 to 443 lbs.|
|BMI||19 to 24||25 to 29||30 to 39||40 to 54|
Source: National Institutes of Health
Waist-to-Hip Ratio (WHR) and Waist-to-Height Ratio (WtHR)
These can give you a good idea of what your ideal weight should be based on whether your waist is the appropriate size for your hips and height, respectively. The waist-to-hip (WHR) ratio and waist-to-height (WtHR) are helpful tools in determining whether or not you have a healthy weight because too much abdominal fat, or having abdominal obesity, has been linked to an increased risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
You can measure your WHR by following these steps:
- Wrap a tape measure around the narrowest part of your waist, just above your belly button.
- Measure your hip circumference at its widest part.
- Divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement.
The higher the WHR, the higher the risk. In women, WHR values indicate the risk for developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) as follows:
- Low risk – WHR below 0.8
- Moderate risk – WHR between 0.8 and 0.89
- High risk – WHR above 0.9
You can measure your WtHr by following these steps:
- Measure your waist circumference at its narrowest part.
- Divide your waist size by your height.
Your risks for CVD and other health conditions based on your WtHR are as follows:
- Low risk – WtHR of 0.5 or below
- High risk – WtHR above 0.5
A 0.5 or below WtHR may also indicate that you have a healthy weight.
Again, these values are not accurate indicators of health and ideal weight and should be used alongside other key factors, such as total body fat percentage and muscle-to-fat ratio. But your WHR and WtHR, especially when both are taken into consideration, can serve as helpful guides in figuring out how much weight you should lose.
Body Fat Percentage
This is calculated by dividing your body fat measurement by your overall weight. The ideal total body fat percentage you should have depends on your body type or physical activity level.
Body fat measurements are done on the thigh, abdomen, and upper arm (for women). These are usually performed by a healthcare professional through any of the following methods:
- Skinfold calipers
- Hydrostatic body fat measuring, or “underwater weighing”
- Air densitometry, which measures air displacement
- Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA)
Indications of total body fat percentages are as follows:
|Activity level||Female body type|
|Obesity||42% or more|
Source: American Council on Exercise (ACE)
These values are not 100% accurate but still provide a good estimate of whether or not you have a healthy weight.
Ideal Weight for Women – Final Thoughts
Combining all four methods of assessing your body weight is the best way to determine what your ideal weight should be and whether or not you need to take a careful look at your lifestyle and your eating habits and physical activity, in particular.
There is no single and accurate way to calculate the ideal weight for women. Make sure to factor in all key determinants to get the best possible results and so that you can figure out your options.