If You're Asking If You Weigh Too Much - You Probably Do

Everyone seems to think about their weight. Your weight affects your health and mobility, including your risk of needing long-term health care in the future.

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If You're Asking If You Weigh Too Much - You Probably Do
7 Min Read July 9th, 2021

A Gallup Poll conducted in 2020 shows that 51% of Americans polled report their weight to be 'ideal' with 41% self-reporting they are over-weight.

Just over half (55%) of people say they wish to lose weight, with 38% reporting they would like to maintain their current weight, with 7% who wish to gain weight. More women (59%) than men (51%) indicated that they wanted to lose weight.

What is an ideal weight? How do you determine exactly what your weight should be? Does that change as you get older? These questions are important since weight affects overall health and health issues as we get older. 

Having excess weight affects a person's risk of multiple diseases, including obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular problems, and a higher risk for long-term health care. 

Joint problems and lack of mobility can also be adversely affected by weight. Being underweight can also be a problem and can lead to osteoporosis. Bone loss and fractures lead to frailty and long-term health care.

What is an Ideal Weight?

Many individuals want to know the answer to this common question: how much should I weigh? However, for everyone, the ideal healthy weight does not exist because it is affected by various factors such as age, lean body fat, height, gender, body fat distribution, or body type. 

However, many researchers believe that carrying extra weight today leads to numerous health problems in the future. 

BMI is one tool for determining your ideal weight. This online BMI calculator can be helpful.

Know Your BMI?

Do you know your Body Mass Index? Many doctors will calculate and share with you your BMI just like they share blood work results like cholesterol levels.

If you don't know your BMI, you can use the BMI calculator available online. All you need is your height and weight; you can use the formula below to do it yourself:

BMI = (weight (lb) x 703) / (height (inch) x height (inch)).

Now that you know your Body Mass Index (BMI), is it worth knowing? The BMI calculator is a commonly used tool to determine whether a person's weight is healthy. It calculates a person's weight relative to their height. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) you will find the height and weight and corresponding BMI:







Severe obesity

4ft 10″

91 to 115 lbs.

119 to 138 lbs.

143 to 186 lbs.

191 to 258 lbs.

4ft 11″

94 to 119 lbs.

124 to 143 lbs.

148 to 193 lbs.

198 to 267 lbs.


97 to 123 lbs.

128 to 148 lbs.

153 to 199 lbs.

204 to 276 lbs.

5ft 1″

100 to 127 lbs.

132 to 153 lbs.

158 to 206 lbs.

211 to 285 lbs.

5ft 2″

104 to 131 lbs.

136 to 158 lbs.

164 to 213 lbs.

218 to 295 lbs.

5ft 3″

107 to 135 lbs.

141 to 163 lbs.

169 to 220 lbs.

225 to 304 lbs.

5ft 4″

110 to 140 lbs.

145 to 169 lbs.

174 to 227 lbs.

232 to 314 lbs.

5ft 5″

114 to 144 lbs.

150 to 174 lbs.

180 to 234 lbs.

240 to 324 lbs.

5ft 6″

118 to 148 lbs.

155 to 179 lbs.

186 to 241 lbs.

247 to 334 lbs.

5ft 7″

121 to 153 lbs.

159 to 185 lbs.

191 to 249 lbs.

255 to 344 lbs.

5ft 8″

125 to 158 lbs.

164 to 190 lbs.

197 to 256 lbs.

262 to 354 lbs.

5ft 9″

128 to 162 lbs.

169 to 196 lbs.

203 to 263 lbs.

270 to 365 lbs.

5ft 10″

132 to 167 lbs.

174 to 202 lbs.

209 to 271 lbs.

278 to 376 lbs.

5ft 11″

136 to 172 lbs.

179 to 208 lbs.

215 to 279 lbs.

286 to 386 lbs.


140 to 177 lbs.

184 to 213 lbs.

221 to 287 lbs.

294 to 397 lbs.

6ft 1″

144 to 182 lbs.

189 to 219 lbs.

227 to 295 lbs.

302 to 408 lbs.

6ft 2″

148 to 186 lbs.

194 to 225 lbs.

233 to 303 lbs.

311 to 420 lbs.

6ft 3″

152 to 192 lbs.

200 to 232 lbs.

240 to 311 lbs.

319 to 431 lbs.

6ft 4″

156 to 197 lbs.

205 to 238 lbs.

246 to 320 lbs.

328 to 443 lbs.


19 to 24

25 to 29

30 to 39

40 to 54


· A BMI below 18.5 is underweight.

· A BMI is from 18.5-24.9 is ideal.

· BMI is from 25-29.9 is overweight.

· BMI over 30 means obesity.

BMI Does Not Measure Belly Fat

The CDC notes that BMI does not measure a person's belly fat, and for your overall health, your belly fat is important. Too much belly fat can increase your risk for diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. 

An individual's waist size) considers the amount of belly fat and can help predict increased risk of health problems due to weight. Women, for example, whose waist measures more than 35 inches are at higher risk. Men, however, have a higher risk when their waist measures more than 40 inches. 

Losing weight will reduce the amount of belly fat and reduce your waist size, which is good for your health, heart, and lungs.

Be sure to measure your waist the right way. The CDC suggests placing a tape measure around your middle, just above your hipbones. Measure your waist just after you breathe out.

BMI is Not Perfect

Like most health indicators, Body Mass Index is not a perfect test; for example, pregnancy or high muscle mass can change the results. BMI is also generally not a good indicator of children's health or for athletes. 

Generally speaking, the higher your BMI, the higher your risk of various obesity-related diseases, including:

  • diabetes
  • liver disease
  • arthritis
  • high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • several types of cancer (such as those of the colon, breast, and prostate)
  • sleep apnea
  • high cholesterol

According to the World Health Organization, nearly 3 million people worldwide die of overweight or obesity each year. In addition, regardless of the specific medical condition, people with a high BMI usually report that they feel better physically and mentally after losing weight.

Overemphasizing BMI?

Body Mass Index is more useful in predicting a person's future health than their current health. For example, the Harvard Health Letter says as a single measure, BMI would not be expected to identify cardiovascular health or illness; the same is true for cholesterol, blood sugar, or blood pressure as a single measure. And while cardiovascular health is important, it is not the only measure of health! 

Health professionals must consider conditions that might also be associated with an individual who has an elevated BMI. Health issues like liver disease or arthritis are two examples. According to studies noted by the Harvard Health Letter, people who are healthy and overweight or obese are more likely to develop diabetes or other adverse health consequences over time.

The current definition of BMI for overweight or obesity is mainly based on white populations. However, composition (including body fat percentage or muscle mass) may vary by race and ethnicity, so the BMI calculator can help to predict the health of whites, but it is less accurate for people of other races and ethnicities.

Maintaining A Proper Weight

National Institutes of Health note that environmental factors, family history (genetics), and metabolism all can contribute to a person's weight.

In addition, a person's behavior and habits and lead to a person being overweight or maintaining a proper weight throughout their life. 

The NIH says you can attain and maintain a healthy weight if you:

  • Follow a healthy diet, and if you are overweight or obese, reduce your daily intake by 500 calories for weight loss
  • Are physically active
  • Limit the time you spend being physically inactive

Losing Weight After Age 50

Losing weight after age 50 is much harder than when you are younger. Metabolic rates start to decline, you have less activity, and as a result, you lose muscle mass. Even if you eat the same amount as you did when you were younger, you can still gain weight!

Many experts suggest making sure you get enough protein in your diet, get more exercise, and get enough sleep. These three simple steps can be very beneficial. 

An overall healthy diet always is helpful. These tips are suggested by the NIH - click here.


As a single measure, Body Mass Index is obviously not a perfect health indicator, but it is still a helpful starting point. Knowledge helps you develop goals and ways to meet those goals. There are health conditions and diseases that are more likely to occur when you are overweight or obese. Knowing your Body Mass Index with a BMI calculator is a good first step in living a healthy and active lifestyle to maintain proper weight.

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About the Author

James Schober is an accomplished writer focusing on business and health issues.

LTC News Contributor James Schober

James Schober

Contributor since July 9th, 2021

Editor's Note

So many things start to change with our bodies as we get older, including excess weight and fat. You can be proactive with your health before you get older to reduce your risks, but your health, body, and mind will still change as you get older.  

Many of these changes will lead to you needing assistance with daily activities. A decline in cognitive ability will also start occurring. Prepare your family and finances and address the future costs and burdens of aging now.

People require long-term health care due to illness, accident, or the consequences of longevity. The costs associated with long-term health care are expensive, and these costs increase every year. Your health insurance, including Medicare, will not pay for most of this care, so it is up to you - or your family.

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Research with Resources Available on LTC NEWS

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