Find Your Healthy Weight

What is a healthy weight? The answer varies from person to person. One way to determine whether you are at a healthy weight is by calculating your body mass index (BMI). Another way is to measure your waist size. Both provide valuable information that you and your health care provider can use to determine if your current weight is healthy—and how to go about tipping the scale in your favor. Remember, these tools are not intended to diagnose health problems. Your health care provider is the best person to evaluate your findings.

CALCULATING YOUR BMI. Body mass index (BMI) is calculated using your height and weight. The chart below can help you see if your BMI falls in the underweight, healthy, overweight, or obese range. To do so, find your height in the left-hand column and move across the row until you find your weight. If your BMI falls outside of the healthy range, or if you have any questions or concerns, talk to your health care provider about the next steps you should take to reach a healthy body weight.

MEASURING YOUR WAIST SIZE. It's not just the amount of excess weight you may be carrying—where you carry the excess weight is important, too. Carrying weight mainly around the middle of the body can increase the risk of health problems. This is true even if your BMI falls within the normal range. For people with the same weight or BMI, non-pregnant women with a waist size of more than 35 inches, or men with a waist size of more than 40 inches, are at a higher risk than people with smaller waists.

The proper way to measure your waist size is to place a tape measure around your bare abdomen, just above your hipbone. Once the tape is in place, parallel to the floor and not digging into your skin, relax your body, breathe out, and check the measurement.

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