Determining a healthy weight that's right for you is an important key to feeling your best and living a healthy life.  Achieving and/or maintaining that weight involves a lifestyle that combines healthy eating and regular exercise.  Over the years, there have been many different ways to determine ideal body weight for adults. 

For years, the Metropolitan life insurance tables were used as a reference.  More recently, the body mass index or BMI charts have been used.  Your BMI is based on your height and weight.  You can find out your BMI by using the BMI calculator at the BMI may not be an accurate measure if you're very muscular. 

Because the location of the fat on your body influences your health, your waist circumference can be used to determine if you are overweight.  Health risks increase when waist circumference is:

  • Women - greater than 35 inches
  • Men - greater than 40 inches

Another way that nutrition professionals often use to determine ideal body weight: 

  • Women - 100 pounds for the first 5 feet and 5 pounds for every additional inch
  • Men - 106 pounds for the first 5 feet and 6 pounds for ever additional inch

This is a starting point and depending on body frame size may need to increased or decreased by 10%. 

Another factor to determine the body weight that's right for you is to determine the weight you weigh when you're eating a well-balanced, healthy diet and exercising regularly.  But how do you know if you're eating a healthy diet?  The best way is to visit a registered dietitian and have your usual intake evaluated.  Your dietitian can help you set a weight goal that's healthy for you, determine your calorie needs to lose or maintain weight and help you plan meals.  To find a registered dietitian in your area, visit

For achieving and maintaining ideal weight, good nutrition and physical activity go hand in hand.  To maintain a healthy weight, adults should do moderate activity for at least 30 minutes a day for 5 or more days each week.  To lose weight, adults should do moderate to vigorous activity for 60-90 minutes for 5 or more days each week.  The activity can be divided into 10 minutes chunks throughout the day. Of course, you should always consult your doctor beginning any exercise program. 

The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) tracks people who have lost significant amounts of weight and kept it off for many years.  The majority of these successful people:

  • Modified their food intake to lose weight
  • Increased their physical activity, with the most frequently reported form of activity being walking
  • Continue to maintain a low-calorie, low-fat diet and are very active
  • Eat breakfast every day
  • Watch less than 19 hours of TV per week and
  • Exercise, on average, about one hour per day

For more nutrition and weight loss information, visit my Balanced Eating Blog at  


­­­­­­­Fact Checking/Not for Publication:


2.      Nutrition and Diet Therapy by Carroll Lutz and Karen Przytulski.  E.A. Davis Company/Publishers, Philadelphia, 2006