Body Measurements Help Determine Healthy Weight Status - dummies

Body Measurements Help Determine Healthy Weight Status

By Jane Kirby, The American Dietetic Association

A healthy weight is a range that relates statistically to good health. Being overweight or obese is statistically related to weight-related health problems, such as heart disease and hypertension.

Healthcare professionals use three key measurements to determine whether a person is at a healthy weight:

  • Body Mass Index (BMI): A measure that correlates to how much fat is on your body.

  • Waist size: A measure that helps to indicate whether the location of your body fat is a health hazard.

  • Risk factors for developing weight-related health problems: For example, your cholesterol level, blood pressure, and family history.

What you should weigh for optimal health may be quite different from what someone else should weigh, even if that someone is your same height, gender, and age.

When you step onto your bathroom scale, the number shows you how much your total body weighs. This total includes fat, muscle, bone, and water. Even though a healthy weight depends on more than the number on the scale, that number is a general starting point that you can use to assess your weight.

After you know your weight, you can compare it to the healthy weight ranges of the quick estimate method or use it to calculate your BMI. But what if your weight falls above these ranges? For most people, that’s less healthy. The more that you weigh beyond and above the healthy weight range for your height, the greater your risk for weight-related health problems.