Many people become confused by different opinions on how much a person is supposed to weigh. The traditional weight charts were based only on the person’s height. Now, a standard height and weight chart has largely fallen out of favor. Most people use measurements of body mass index (BMI) rather than a standard chart.
Eventually, the weight chart evolved to include different frames. The weights on the height and weight chart that considers bone structure of the person’s frame had slightly larger weight ranges for people with larger frames. There was still the problem of not being a true, accurate measure of ideal weight.
The body mass index is calculated by dividing the person’s weight in kilograms by the square of their height in meters. For people in areas that do not use the metric system, the BMI can be found by multiplying their weight in pounds by 703 and dividing that number by the square of their height in inches.
A graph or table is used to compare the person’s BMI with the underweight, normal, overweight, and obese ranges. In the United States, a BMI of twenty-five is the level that separate normal weight from being overweight.
Since the BMI still relies solely on the height and weight of the individual, it is not necessarily any better than the traditional height and weight charts. The BMI does not account for muscle mass or bone structure. In one study in the United States, people who were determined to be of a healthy weight by their BMI had a higher death rate than those identified to be overweight by their BMI.
Some fitness experts have made adjustments to the BMI measurement to include things such as skeletal structure for a more personalized measurement of the BMI. Some fitness experts include measurements of the person’s wrist and thigh, waist, and upper arm to get a more accurate picture of the BMI and muscle or fat composition. This personalized approach is often used to obtain a beginning measurement and periodic measurements to judge the person’s progress in a fitness program.
More and more people are moving away from any standard measure of ideal weight. If the person is healthy and their weight is not causing medical or psychological issues such as poor self-confidence or low self-esteem, then their ideal weight may be exactly what it is no matter what that weight is. The important thing is for the person to be comfortable with who they are.