For a majority of people looking to lose weight, one of the questions each person needs to ask him or herself is whether their weight is appropriate for their age and height. Even for those not looking to lose weight, this is an important question that needs to be answered. Obesity affects millions upon millions of people and can lead to diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and osteoarthritis. On the other hand, for individuals who have gained substantial weight, there could be an underlying condition such as Cushing’s syndrome or hypothyroidism. It is therefore important to determine one’s ideal body weight. This will allow you to take the necessary steps needed to prevent obesity and its co-occurring conditions.
However, it is important to note that one’s body weight may be entirely different to another’s body weight. This is because to determine one’s body weight requires one to look into several factors such as muscle to fat ratio, gender, bone density, age, and height. These factors vary widely from one individual to another. As such, the ideal body weight will also differ from one person to another.
Here we shall look into methods that are used to determine one’s ideal body weight.
BMI stands for body mass index. It is also known Quetelet index. It has been the staple for many healthcare providers to determine the ideal weight for an individual. BMI is a measure of one’s weight to a person’s height. The weight of a person is in kilograms while the height is in meters.
The consensus on BMI according to the World Health Organization (WHO) is that any BMI score of 25.0 to 29.9 suggests one being overweight while a BMI over 30.0 suggests obesity. However, the obesity score is divided into three parts. A BMI score in the range of 30.0 to 34.9 represents moderate obesity while a score of 35.0 to 39.9 represents severe obesity. Lastly, scoring over 40.0 represents severe obesity.
The problem of the BMI is that it does not consider an individual’s chest, weight or hip measurements. Also, some say the BMI is an inaccurate method to use as it does not consider muscle mass, body fat mass, and bone density as some of the factors that contribute to weight. To counter these shortcomings the waist to hip ratio is used.
Waist to hip ratio (WHR)
The waist to hip ratio is a ratio of the circumference of one’s waist to the circumference of the hips. The waist’s measurement usually has the smallest circumference, most of the time just above the belly button. This circumference is divided by the widest circumference of the hips.
WHR=(Smallest circumference of the waist)/(Widest circumference of the hips )
The WHR in men indicates different health consequences than that of women. In men, any ratio greater than one indicates a high risk of cardiovascular disease while in women any ratio above 0.9 indicates the same as well. WHR is a better indicator of whether one’s weight is ideal as compared to the BMI. The WHR also offers a better indicator of the risk an individual may suffer from a cardiovascular illness. The challenge with WHR however, is that it does not accurately measure a person’s total body fat percentage or the muscle to fat ratio.