Weight Management - Are You at a Healthy Weight?
Your first step to find
out if you are at a healthy weight is to find out what your
BMI, or body mass index, is and what your waist size
is. For most people, these are good clues to whether they are at a healthy
What's your BMI?
A healthy weight is one that is right for your body type and height
and is based on your
body mass index (BMI) and the size of your waist (waist circumference). If you
are age 20 or older, use the
Interactive Tool: Is Your BMI Increasing Your Health Risks? to check
your BMI when you know your height in feet, weight in
pounds, and waist circumference.
- If your BMI is less than 18.5, you are in the
underweight category. Talk to your doctor to find out if your weight is a
symptom of a medical problem. A registered dietitian can help you learn about healthy eating.
- If your BMI is
between 19 and 24.9, you are in the recommended weight range for your height.
But your health may still be at risk if you are not getting regular physical
activity and practicing healthy eating.
- If your BMI is 25 to 29.9,
you are in the overweight category. This may or may not be unhealthy, depending
on some other things, like your waist size and other health problems you may
- If your BMI is 30 or higher, you're in the obese category.
You may need to lose weight and change your eating and activity habits to get
healthy and stay healthy. See the topic
If you are Asian, your recommended weight range may be
lower. Talk to your doctor.
It's important to remember that your
BMI is only one measure of your health. A person who is not at a "normal" weight according
to BMI charts may be healthy if he or she has healthy eating
habits and exercises regularly. People who are thin but don't exercise or eat
nutritious foods aren't necessarily healthy just because they are thin.
What's your waist size?
After you know your BMI,
it's time to look at your waist size.
Measuring your waist
can help you find out how much fat you have stored around your belly. People
who are "apple-shaped" and store fat around their belly are
more likely to develop weight-related diseases than people who are
"pear-shaped" and store most of their fat around their
hips. Diseases that are related to weight include type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and
high blood pressure.
waist size with a tape measure. The tape should fit snugly but not press into
For most people, the goal for a healthy waist
- Less than
40 in. (102 cm) for men.
- Less than
35 in. (88 cm) for women.