What is Ideal Body Weight really?

ideal weight

One cannot compare their ideal body weight with someone else’s because several factors are considered while calculating that number, such as age, muscle-fat ratio, height, sex and bone density.

In simpler words, “Ideal Body Weight” is a range of weights that determines if your weight is in proportion to your height and gender. But, before chasing the Ideal Body Weight ask yourself if you are targeting a healthy goal?

While emphasizing the health aspect we would also like to draw your attention towards the fact that weight is just one of many measures of good health. A person whose weight does not fall in the normal range according to BMI charts may still be healthy if he or she has healthy eating habits and exercises regularly. Similarly, skinny people may not be healthy just because they are slim. Losing fat is not the same as losing weight.

BMI is a very basic calculation, which only takes the person’s weight and height into consideration while ignoring important aspects like waist, chest or hip measurements. A professional sprinter may have a higher BMI than a lazy person of the same height. Differentiating trait would be their accumulated fat percentage. The athlete will have a thinner waist, lower body fat percentage, higher muscle mass and a healthier body. The BMI calculator will show the inactive person to have a healthier BMI than the athlete. Therefore, relying solely on BMI is not a comprehensive approach.

Maintaining a healthy ideal weight not only adds to your overall fitness but also reduces your susceptibility to various diseases. An overweight person is at a higher risk of developing serious health issues like diabetes and heart ailments. It’s never too late to aim to be at your ideal body weight. If you already have certain problems like high blood pressure, breathing problems, etc. maintaining a healthy body weight will help you control these diseases and in most cases the symptoms are considerably reduced.

The diseases which especially attack you when you are above or below your Ideal Body Weight are:

  • Diabetes (Type 2): The more fat content in your cells and tissues, the more resistant your cells become to insulin. Having Diabetes can also increase your risk of stroke.
  • High blood pressure: Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood. If this pressure rises and stays high over time due to accumulated fat in your arteries, it can damage the body in many ways.
  • Coronary heart disease: CHD is a condition in which a waxy substance called plaque builds up inside the coronary arteries. These arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to your heart. Plaque can narrow or block the coronary arteries and reduce blood flow to the heart muscle.
  • Stroke: Being overweight or obese can lead to a build-up of plaque in your arteries. Eventually, an area of plaque can rupture, causing a blood clot to form. If the clot is close to your brain, it can block the flow of blood and oxygen to your brain and cause a stroke.
  • Certain cancers: Being overweight or obese raises your risk for colon, breast, endometrial, and gallbladder cancers.
  • Gall bladder disease: Gallstones are hard pieces of stone-like material that form in the gallbladder. They’re mostly made of cholesterol. Gallstones can cause stomach or back pain. People who are overweight or obese are at increased risk of having gallstones. Also, being overweight may result in an enlarged gallbladder that doesn’t work well.
  • Reproductive problems: Obesity can cause menstrual issues and infertility in women.
  • Musculoskeletal problems such as osteoarthritis and back pain: Osteoarthritis is a common joint problem of the knees, hips, and lower back. The condition occurs if the tissue that protects the joints wears away. Extra weight can put more pressure and wear on joints, causing pain.
  • Gout: If you are overweight, you are putting extra pressure on your joints. This causes chemical changes in your body. Thus, it is believed that an obese person is four times more likely to get gout than a non-obese person.

What You Can Do?

Maintaining a healthy weight is not always easy. The key to success is making changes in daily eating and physical activity levels.

Our weight is a result of the combination of the energy one takes in (through foods and beverages) and the energy used up body (by engaging in physical activity). To lose weight, an individual needs to burn more calories than those consumed. Some ways to create a caloric deficit are:

  • Spend less time in sedentary activities (e.g., watching television, internet surfing)
  • Engage in daily physical activities (e.g., walking, bicycling, gardening, housework)
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables and reduce food portion sizes

An interesting study has highlighted gender difference amongst people trying to reach their ideal body weight. According to a study, women tend to consider ideal weight for their height and age lesser than what is medically recommended. This forces them to resort to yo-yo diets to achieve their target. On the other hand, men tend to lean towards the higher range, and to achieve that they work on building more muscle through supplements or a high protein diet.

You can achieve your ideal body weight (specific to your age, body type and lifestyle) without starving yourself, by following a balanced diet and working out regularly.

Considering the above reference, a standard list of ideal body weight in respect to height has been designed for Indian population:

Men Women
Height Weight Height Weight
4’5 28-35 Kg 4’5 28-35 Kg
4’6 30-39 Kg 4’6 30-37 Kg
4’7 33-40 Kg 4’7 32-40 Kg
4’8 35-44 Kg 4’8 35-42 Kg
4’9 38-46 Kg 4’9 36-45 Kg
4’10 40-50 Kg 4’10 39-47 Kg
4’11 43-53 Kg 4’11 40-50 Kg
5’1 45-55 Kg 5’1 43-52 Kg
5’2 48-59 Kg 5’2 45-55 Kg
5’3 50-61 Kg 5’3 47-57 Kg
5’4 53-65 Kg 5’4 49-60 Kg
5’5 55-68 Kg 5’5 51-62 Kg
5’6 58-70 Kg 5’6 53-65 Kg
5’7 60-74 Kg 5’7 55-67 Kg
5’8 63-76 Kg 5’8 57-70 Kg
5’9 65-80 Kg 5’9 59-72 Kg
5’10 67-83 Kg 5’10 61-75 Kg
5’11 70-85 Kg 5’11 63-77  Kg
6’1 72-89 Kg 6’1 65-80 Kg