If you are really concerned about your health or your looks and want to know how much you should weigh, this ideal weight calculator is the tool for you. It will help you determine your ideal body weight based on your height and sex. Read on to learn the different formulas for calculating your IBW (ideal body weight) and how to interpret the results. We will also explain how to use the healthy weight chart, which is based on BMI.
How Much Should I Weigh?
Most everyone has at some point tried to lose weight, or at least known somebody who has. This is largely due to the perception of an “ideal” body weight, which is often based on what we see promoted through various media such as social media, TV, movies, magazines, etc. Although ideal body weight (IBW) today is sometimes based on perceived visual appeal, IBW was actually introduced to estimate dosages for medical use, and the formulas that calculate it are not at all related to how a person looks at a given weight. It has since been determined that the metabolism of certain drugs is more based on IBW than it is total body weight. Today, IBW is also used widely throughout sports, since many sports classify people based on their body weight.
Note that IBW is not a perfect measurement. It does not consider the percentages of body fat and muscle in a person’s body. This means that it is possible for highly fit, healthy athletes to be considered overweight based on their IBW. This is why IBW should be considered with the perspective that it is an imperfect measure and not necessarily indicative of health, or a weight that a person should necessarily strive toward; it is possible to be over or under your “IBW” and be perfectly healthy.
How much a person should weigh is not an exact science. It is highly dependent on each individual. Thus far, there is no measure, be it IBW, body mass index (BMI), or any other that can definitively state how much a person should weigh to be healthy. They are only references, and it’s more important to adhere to making healthy life choices such as regular exercise, eating a variety of unprocessed foods, getting enough sleep, etc. than it is to chase a specific weight based on a generalized formula.
That being said, many factors can affect the ideal weight; the major factors are listed below. Other factors include health conditions, fat distribution, progeny, etc.
In theory, age shouldn’t be a large determinant of a IBW past the ages of 14-15 for girls and 16-17 for boys, after which most people stop growing. It is actually expected that human males and females to lose 1.5 and 2 inches in height respectively by age 70. It is important to remember that as people age, lean muscle mass decreases and it is easier to accumulate excess body fat. This is a natural process, though it is possible to lessen the effects of aging by adopting various habits such as monitoring diet, exercise, stress, and sleep.
Generally, females weigh less than males even though they naturally have a higher percentage of body fat. This is because the male body generally has higher muscle mass, and muscle is heavier than fat. Not only that, but women generally have lower bone density. Last but not least, males tend to be taller than females.
The taller the person, the more muscle mass and body fat they have, which results in more weight. A male at a similar height to a female should weigh about 10-20% heavier.
Body Frame Size
Body frame size is another factor that can have a significant impact on the measurement of ideal weight. Body frame size is typically categorized as small, medium, or large boned. It is measured based on the circumference of a person’s wrist in relation to their height, as shown below.
Height under 5’2″
- Small boned = wrist size less than 5.5″
- Medium boned = wrist size 5.5″ to 5.75″
- Large boned = wrist size over 5.75″
Height between 5’2″ and 5′ 5″
- Small boned = wrist size less than 6″
- Medium boned = wrist size 6″ to 6.25″
- Large boned = wrist size over 6.25″
Height over 5′ 5″
- Small boned = wrist size less than 6.25″
- Medium boned = wrist size 6.25″ to 6.5″
- Large boned = wrist size over 6.5″
Height over 5′ 5″
- Small boned = wrist size 5.5″ to 6.5″
- Medium boned = wrist size 6.5″ to 7.5″
- Large boned = wrist size over 7.5″
A person who is large boned will naturally weigh more than someone who is small boned, even at the same height, making body frame size a factor that can affect measurements such as IBW and BMI.
Formulas for Finding the Ideal Weight
IBW formulas were developed mainly to facilitate drug dosage calculations. All of the formulas, have the same format of a base weight given a height of 5 feet, with a set weight increment added per inch over the height of 5 feet. For example, if you are a 5’10” male estimating your ideal weight with the Devine formula, you would add (2.3 × 10) kg to 50 kg to get 73 kg, or ~161 lbs.
The formulas differ in the values used based on the research of the scientists involved in their development, and their findings. The Devine formula is the most widely used formula for the measurement of IBW.
G. J. Hamwi Formula (1964)
- Male: 48.0 kg + 2.7 kg per inch over 5 feet
- Female: 45.5 kg + 2.2 kg per inch over 5 feet
Invented for medicinal dosage purposes.
B. J. Devine Formula (1974)
- Male: 50.0 kg + 2.3 kg per inch over 5 feet
- Female: 45.5 kg + 2.3 kg per inch over 5 feet
Similar to the Hamwi Formula, it was originally intended as a basis for medicinal dosages based on weight and height. Over time, the formula became a universal determinant of IBW.
J. D. Robinson Formula (1983)
- Male: 52 kg + 1.9 kg per inch over 5 feet
- Female: 49 kg + 1.7 kg per inch over 5 feet
Modification of the Devine Formula.
D. R. Miller Formula (1983)
- Male: 56.2 kg + 1.41 kg per inch over 5 feet
- Female: 53.1 kg + 1.36 kg per inch over 5 feet
Modification of the Devine Formula.
Healthy BMI Range
The World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommended healthy BMI range is 18.5 – 25 for both male and female. Based on the BMI range, it is possible to find out a healthy weight for any given height.
BMI is a commonly used metric for determining IBW. It is widely used in the medical field as a quick indicator of possible health complications. Generally, the higher the BMI, the higher the chance a person will suffer from health problems such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and many more. It is an indicator used by doctors to advise their patients of potential health problems, especially if there is a noticeable progressive increase in their BMI, and is currently the official metric for classifying individuals according to different obesity levels.
Limitations of the BMI
Your BMI can tell you if you’re carrying too much weight, but it cannot tell if you’re carrying too much fat.
The BMI cannot tell the difference between excess fat, muscle or bone.
The adult BMI does not take into account age, gender or muscle mass.
- very muscular adults and athletes may be classed “overweight” or “obese” even though their body fat is low
- adults who lose muscle as they get older may fall into the “healthy weight” range even though they may be carrying excess fat
Pregnancy will also affect a woman’s BMI result. Your BMI will go up as your weight increases. You should use your pre-pregnancy weight when calculating your BMI.
Apart from these limitations, the BMI is a relatively straightforward and convenient way of assessing someone’s weight.