Maintaining your weight within its optimal parameters is essential if you want to stay healthy. But it’s difficult to determine what the parameters are exactly, as there are many factors that can influence them. Your height and your body mass index (BMI) are just a couple of those. Medical New Today offers some insight into this complicated matter, and the medical web outlet also has a few suggestions that you might take into consideration if you’re interested in a few tips on how best to achieve your ideal weight.
All of these recommendations are especially important in the United States, a country that is dealing with a serious obesity problem. And just to illustrate exactly how big this issue is, here are some statistics, courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In the States, the average weight of women aged 20 and above is 168.5 pounds, the average height is 5 feet 3.7 inches, and the average waist circumference measures 38.1 inches. The average body mass index, the measurement that is most commonly used to determine a person’s well-being, is 26.5, which falls into the category of ‘overweight’. Over two-thirds of American adults are deemed to be ‘overweight’ or ‘obese’, and that is indeed a worrying fact.
Average weight and obesity rates worldwide
The 2005 statistics published in 2012 by BMC Public Health, show that, with 177.9 lbs, North America is the continent with has the highest average body mass in the world. With 73.9 percent, it also has the highest percentage of overweight people. Moreover, a 2015 review discovered that 12.7 percent of children in the U.S. were obese, which was the highest rate among the 20 most populated countries. However, on the top of the list for adult obesity was Egypt with 35.3 percent.
This table shows the statistics for various world regions:
The ideal weight range for women
The ideal range determines the weight where a person is healthiest and fittest. This perfect number can be worked out in a number of ways.
Body mass index
Calculating your BMI is pretty simple, which is why this is the method most commonly used to calculate the ideal weight range. Here is the formula, which works both for women and men.
- divide your weight (in kilograms) by your height (in meters)
- divide by height again
If you’re using the imperial measurements, there are many online calculators that can help you out.
The BMI often correlates to the percentage of body fat, which explains its common application. However, since muscle is heavier than fat, the BMI can sometimes present a false picture. For example, according to a research conducted by Sports Health journal, the BMI scores categorize athletes as ‘overweight’ or ‘obese’, when, in fact, they are in peak physical condition.
A couple other reasons for criticizing BMI are the fact that it underestimates the prevalence of obesity in both sexes, and that it’s increasingly inaccurate as women age.
These are the BMI categories, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute:
Waist circumference and hip-to-waist ratio
Fat can be found everywhere on a human’s body, but there are different kinds of fat. The one that accumulates around your midsection is the one that can indicate an increased risk of certain diseases. The World Health Organization (WHO) has found that this fat can be associated with an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and premature death.
Also according to the organization, the fat distribution and the disease implications can be better determined by calculating the waist-to-hip ratio, then by the BMI. This ratio can be worked out by dividing the circumference of your waist by the circumference of your hips.
The WHO states that, for women, it’s best to keep the waist at 80 cm or 31.5 inches or less. Higher numbers mean a higher risk of health problems.
Body fat percentage
Measuring your body fat percentage is a great way to determine your ideal way, because, unlike the BMI, this shows exactly how much of your weight is lean tissue and how much is fat. That sounds great on paper, although in practice, there are a few downsides to choosing this method.
For one, DXA scans (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry), which are the most accurate way to measure the fat percentage, are expensive and time-consuming. Also, scientists are yet to agree what the ideal body fat percentages are or where the cut-off points should be.
Despite that, here are the body fat guidelines for women, proposed by the American Council on Exercise.
Weight and other factors
Here are a few other factors that can influence your ideal weight range.
According to research, as you get older, the amount of fat in your body increases, and the amount of muscle decreases. This is why, with the passing of the years, you will have to work harder on your diet and exercise if you want to stay fit.
BMI is calculated based on both height and weight. This means that two people with the same BMI and the same height won’t weigh the same.
Here’s how much people with a healthy BMI weigh at different heights.
Weight management tips
Maintaining the ideal weight is a difficult undertaking. Here are seven tips that might make it easier.
1. High-intensity interval training
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) means doing an exercise activity while varying between higher and lower intensities. You do a few minutes as intensely as you can, then you follow this with a cool-down period, in which you continue doing the activity only in a more relaxed manner. Cycling and running are two great ways you can implement HIIT. This regime is very beneficial for you as it helps fight fat in various ways and it also improves the way your body handles glucose.
2. Cut out processed foods
Laden with sugars and fats, processed foods are definitely a lot less healthy than fresh foods. Removing them from your diet is a great way to cut down on your calorie intake.
3. Stay physically active
Being active not only burns calories, it also improves your metabolism. For adults, the U.S. government recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise (tennis or brisk walking), or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, like jogging or continuous swimming.
4. Intermittent fasting
This means going without food for a time and squeezing all of your meals into a predetermined time frame of, for example, 8 hours. Some studies have discovered that fasting every now and then can promote fat loss.
5. Ketogenic diet
Ketogenic diets have been found to be more effective than standard ones, according to research. These diets mean eating very few carbohydrates and a lot of fat, which helps control the hunger and causes the body to burn more fat.
6. Reduce your portion sizes
This is one of the easiest ways you can reduce your calories intake: just eat from a smaller plate.
7. Stay hydrated
Drinking a lot of water is very important for your health in general and sometimes it can even help you stave off hunger pangs. At times, your body confuses the signals for hunger and thirst and you end up having a snack when in fact you needed water.