What is Your Ideal Weight?


Have you ever heard of body mass index (BMI) and wondered what your ideal healthy weight really is? Sure, you know that you're kind of skinny, feel just right, or overweight, but by how much? What other factors impact your ideal weight? Do you want to know the most likely way that your insurance agent will decide if you are a healthy weight?

The most common way to answer these questions is by using your body mass index, or BMI. 

What is a Body Mass Index (BMI)?

There are many ways to calculate a healthy weight for you using just your height or even a body fat scale. In the most simple terms, body mass index, or BMI for short, is simply an elementary calculation that uses both your weight and you height to determine your ideal weight. It is used often to determine if a person is the correct weight or is in need of weight loss.

Here is the real equation so you can calculate your own BMI:

BMI = (Weight x 703) / (Height in Inches)2

Now I know for the folks out there who don't like math this might look a little scary but let's take an example so that it is clear.

Suppose you weigh 150 pounds and you are 5 feet, 6 inches tall. That means you are 66 inches tall.  Here's how you solve the equation:

1. Add your real values BMI=(150x703)/(66)2
2. Multiply your weight by 703 BMI=(105450)/(66)2
3. Multiply your height by itself (66x66) BMI=(105450)/(4356)
4. Divide the first number by the second number BMI=24.21

So, your BMI is 24.21. So what? Does that mean you are at a healthy weight or that you need to lose weight?  Read on.

What is a Healthy Body Mass Index (BMI)?

Now that you have your result it's important to know where you stand. Your goal is to be in the normal category. To figure out where you are, look for where your BMI fits in the first column below and read the result in the second column.

BMI Result
Below 18.5 Underweight
18.5-24.9 Normal
25-29.9 Overweight
Above 29.9 Obese





So, a healthy BMI is 18.5 - 24.9.

I bet what you'd really like to know, however, is how much you have to actually weigh in pounds to land in that normal range so you can put that number in your mind and set a weight loss goal for yourself. Actually, I'll bet most people want to know what weight to be less than to be considered a healthy weight, so I'll make it even easier.

To figure out what weight you want to be less than, the calculation is as follows:

Maximum Healthy Weight = (24.9 x Height in Inches x Height in Inches) / 703

Ok, so let's do an example. Suppose you are 6 feel tall. That's 72 inches. Here's the calculation:

1. Put in your height in inches twice
Max Healthy Weight = (24.9 x 72 x 72) / 703
2. Multiply the top of the equation
Max Healthy Weight = 129081.6 / 703
3. Divide the first number by the last number
Max Healthy Weight = 183.6

There you have it. If you weigh less than 183.6, rejoice! 

All BMIs are Not Created Equal

Now before you get to worried about your BMI you need to know that this is only a quick measurement. While it is most likely true that a BMI in the healthy range means that you are a healthy weight, there are exceptions that may make your situation a little bit different.

Here are some things to know about BMI:

  • A very strong person would tend to have an inflated BMI since they would have a lot of lean muscle mass on the same sized frame as an overweight person so BMI is not a good indicator for these people
  • The above chart is true for adults but for children, there is a more elaborate chart based on the age and gender of the kid, so don't let your kids get stressed about BMI using this simple calculation.
  • A healthy BMI does not mean a person is healthy but it is a good sign of a healthy weight. Even people at a healthy weight could be unhealthy in other ways, so just take BMI for what it is - a measurement of healthy weight compared to your height.

Now you know how to calculate a healthy weight with body mass index (BMI).