One of the most frequently asked questions is: how much should a person weigh vis-à-vis their height and age? With no single answer to that question, experts say that it is more to do with a person’s body type, their lifestyle, and the physical activities they may undertake in a day. Nevertheless, by knowing the correct height-to-weight ratio, you can limit your weight which can help you stay away from lifestyle diseases like obesity, said Dr Arvind Aggarwal, senior consultant, Internal Medicine, Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute Delhi.
“This is because every person should maintain weight according to their height. If we are not able to do this, then we are inviting many diseases. Many people do not know how much they should weigh according to their height,” he said.
This calculation is commonly based on the BMI (Body Max Index), which is a common tool that measures a person’s weight in relation to their height. A BMI calculation provides a single number, which falls into the following categories:
A BMI of less than 18.5 means a person is underweight.
A BMI of between 18.5 and 24.9 is ideal.
A BMI of between 25 and 29.9 is overweight.
A BMI over 30 indicates obesity.
However, according to Dr Abhishek Subhash, consultant, internal medicine, Bhatia Hospital Mumbai, the BMI is a “misleading” and “inaccurate” concept of weight measurement, and the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention and other international medical associations also are of the opinion that doctors should rely very less on the BMI calculator. “The BMI was not formulated by a doctor or a biologist. It was developed by a mathematician. There are various problems with the BMI, such as it does not take into account the muscle mass, the bone density, or the overall body composition, and even the racial and gender differences,” Dr Abhishek told indianexpress.com.
While lending more weightage to fitness and health of a person, Dr Abhishek shared that there should be “less reliability on the BMI calculator, height and weighing scale”. “These are just numbers. Rather than these numbers, people should focus more on their health and fitness, which is definitely not determined by their height and weight. People should see how their fitness levels are and whether they are able to achieve and perform their day-to-day tasks without any difficulty. They should analyse and introspect if they are having a proper diet, proper mobility, and are getting enough sleep,” said Dr Abhishek.
Nevertheless, a sample height to weight ratio was listed by Dr Arvind.
If our height is 4 feet 10 inches, then our ideal weight should be 41 to 52 kg. If it is more than this, it is not good for health.
If our height is five feet, then our weight should be between 44 to 55.7 kg.
If our height is five feet two inches, our weight should be between 49 to 63 kg.
If our height is five feet four inches, our weight should be between 49 to 63 kg.
The weight of a five feet six inches tall person should be between 53 to 67 kg.
If our height is five feet eight inches, we must weigh between 56 to 71 kg.
At five feet ten inches, the weight should be between 59 to 75 kg.
If our height is six feet, then our normal weight should be between 63 to 80 kg.
In September 2000, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study stating that body fat percentage may be a better measure of risk of weight-related diseases than BMI, according to WebMD. As per medicalnewstoday, calculating body fat percentage may be a suitable way to measure a person’s fitness level because it reflects their body composition.
Agreed Dr Aparna Govil Bhasker, laparoscopic and bariatric surgeon, Saifee Hospital, Apollo Spectra, Namaha and Currae Hospitals, Mumbai and explained with an example, “Two different people of the same height and same age may weigh the same, and can also have the same BMI but their fat and muscle content can be different. One can have more muscle and less fat and vice versa in the case of the other.”
As such, experts suggest that the key to maintaining an ideal weight is to be on a calorie deficit, which means eating fewer calories than one expends. By doing so along with regular exercise, one can lose body fat as the body tends to burn fat reserves when it takes in fewer calories. However, too fewer calories sans carbohydrates can lead to loss of fluids and muscle, not fat. In this case, the body fat percentage tends to go up which is not considered healthy. So, the key is to prioritise fat loss over weight loss and build muscle.
“A high body fat percentage may put one at a higher risk of lifestyle diseases. A body fat percentage of 15 or lower is recommended for males, while a body fat percentage of 25 or lower is recommended for females,” mentioned Bala Krishna Reddy Dabbedi, a fitness expert and co-founder, director at Fittr, in an earlier interaction.
How to measure body fat percentage?
– Online calculators such as on Fittr App – body fat calculator)
– Skinfold callipers
– A DEXA or BCA (Body Composition Analysis) scan
So, does age play a role?
Dr Aggarwal shared a list stating what can be considered as an ideal weight according to one’s age bracket, as per CDC:
The weight of a 19-29 years old boy should be 83.4 kg, while the weight of a girl should be up to 73.4 kg.
Weight of a boy between 30-39 years should be up to 90.3 kg, while the weight of a girl should be up to 76.7 kg.
Weight of a 40-49 years old boy should be 90.9 kg, while a girl should weigh 76.2 kg.
The weight of a 50-60 year-old-boy should be up to 91.3 kg and the weight of the girl should be up to 77.0 kg.