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Is an Ideal Body Weight Always Accurate?

Fitday Editor

Determining your ideal body weight can be as easy as looking for your height and weight on a graph, but the number you find is just the first step in determining what range is healthiest for your body type and lifestyle.

As is often the case with figures plucked from a graph, the information is a static set of numbers, and provides only part of the picture needed to figure out an accurate ideal body weight.

Ideal Body Weight

An ideal body weight range is widely accepted as a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 18.5 to 24.9. BMI is a calculation which figures height as it relates to weight.

This means an average woman who is 5'4" can safely weigh between 108 and 145 pounds and be considered at her ideal body weight. Factors which may change and influence this range include age, body composition and activity level. For example, frame size is often used to more accurately pinpoint at what BMI a person would be most healthy.

Frame Size

An easy and fairly accurate test to determine your frame size is wrapping your index finger and thumb around your wrist at its smallest circumference. If your fingers overlap, your frame size is small. If your fingers barely touch, your frame size is medium, and if your fingers do not touch, your frame size is large.

An individual with a large frame size would generally be more comfortable at the upper reaches of her recommended weight range. So the woman referenced above would typically be healthiest at a weight closer to 145 pounds than she would at 108, if it was determined she possessed a large frame.


An additional factor to consider when determining your ideal body weight is your age. Generally speaking, as we get older, the weight at which we can safely live increases slightly. This means a woman in her fifties can weigh 10 to 15 pounds more than her twenty-year-old daughter of the same height, and enjoy the same quality of health.

Activity Level

A final characteristic to consider when determining your correct ideal body weight is your activity level. While most of us do not engage in extreme levels of fitness (like bodybuilding or ultra-marathons), many people enter into much more active lifestyles when they decide to lose weight, and this high level of activity continues once they have reached their goal weight.

To properly support an athletic lifestyle, it is important to remember that the additional muscle mass created as a result of daily exercise may increase the weight at which your body will function best (and may require that you increase your calorie intake to compensate).

Considering additional factors when figuring out your ideal body weight serves not only to allow you to make the best decisions regarding how much weight you need to lose, but also makes the transition to a healthier lifestyle a much easier process.

Fully investigating your lifestyle will prevent you from striving for a goal weight that may be unhealthy for your particular type of body and will make it easier to maintain your weight once you have reached your goal.

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