Expert Q&A

Body weight: What's an ideal weight?

I know that fashion models and celebrities are not a good example of how much a regular person should weight. But what is the correct body weight for me? How much should I weigh?

There are several ways to approach this issue. One way is to base your weight on a measurement of your body mass index (BMI): A healthy BMI is between 20 and 25. For someone who’s 5’ 7”, this would put their ideal bodyweight between 128-160 pounds. At 5’4”, a person should weigh between 116-145 pounds. To find out your BMI, use the BMI tool or the BMI Chart .

Another rule of thumb is to allow 100 pounds for the first 5 feet of height (for women) and 105 pounds (for men). Then, add 4-6 pounds per inch of height above this base (women), and 5-7 pounds per inch (men). The reason for the difference for men and women is that men’s bodies are typically more muscular—and muscle is heavier. However, the final figure can be adjusted up by as much as 20% or down by 10% to account for an individual’s muscle mass and body type.

Oftentimes, how much you want to weigh and how much you should weigh are at odds. Some women tend to deposit fat around their hips and buttocks. This is genetic and probably does not lead to health consequences as long as her BMI is not over 25. Some men want to be muscular and try to increase their weight, but some men are genetically destined to be fly weight and some heavy weight. In all cases, extra fat around the waist is unhealthy.

How much should you weigh? In the end, the answer depends on your body type, genetics, how you want to look, and whether you are willing consistently regulate your calorie intake and your exercise habits. If health is your primary concern, shoot for a BMI between 20 and 25.

John Messmer, MD
Contributing Expert

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