Surely you have heard about the body mass index, or BMI if you are going to the gym or even have gone to the doctor’s recently. BMI is a useful tool to help you figure out whether you are within a healthy weight range or not. While it is not entirely accurate, the BMI is supported by a wide number of fitness and medical professionals.
Doctors and trainers will often use your BMI, which is calculated using your height and weight, to categorize body weight in one of four categories:
- Normal weight
These ranges correspond to BMI ranges:
- Underweight: Less than 18.5 BMI
- Normal or healthy weight: 18.5-24.9 BMI
- Overweight: 25.0-29.9 BMI
- Obese: Greater than 30
Regardless of your gender, these ranges apply. However, it should be noted that the primary adult BMI chart is useful for those 20 years older and up. Children and young adults ages 2-19 should use a BMI percentile calculator or one meant for children.
BMI Ranges For Men
Here is a brief look at the BMI ranges for men, using height and weight:
- 5 feet tall, 150 pounds – 29 BMI
- 6 feet tall, 150 pounds – 20 BMI
- 5 feet tall, 170 pounds – 33 BMI
- 6 feet tall, 170 pounds – 23 BMI
- 5 feet tall, 190 pounds – 37 BMI
- 6 feet tall, 190 pounds – 26 BMI
- 5 feet tall, 210 pounds – 41 BMI
- 6 feet tall, 210 pounds – 29 BMI
- 5 feet tall, 230 pounds – 45 BMI
- 6 feet tall, 230 pounds – 31 BMI
As you can see, someone who is 5 feet tall and around 150 pounds is already within the overweight range, while a man who is approximately 5 feet, 6 inches would have a BMI of 24, which is within the healthy range. Though this is a glimpse of how BMI works, it can help identify your weight range.
BMI Ranges For Women
Here is a brief look at the BMI ranges for women, using height and weight:
- 4 feet, 10 inches, 120 pounds – 25 BMI
- 5 feet, 2 inches, 120 pounds – 22 BMI
- 5 feet, 7 inches, 120 pounds – 19 BMI
- 4 feet, 10 inches, 150 pounds – 31 BMI
- 5 feet, 2 inches, 150 pounds – 27 BMI
- 5 feet, 7 inches, 150 pounds – 22 BMI
- 6 feet, 150 pounds – 20 BMI
Since women are generally shorter than men (but not in all cases), BMI ranges may be a bit lower than males. However, the ranges are not that different.
Calculating Ideal Weight
Recent studies have found that while the healthy BMI range is considered to be between 18.5 and 24.9, the middle point of 22 is the healthiest weight for an individual. A 2016 study backs this up by noting a BMI of 22.5 for men and 21 for women is healthy. The authors of the study also suggested using a new equation for figuring out your best weight.
The equation is the same for both men and women and is seen below:
- Weight in pounds = 5 * BMI + (BMI/5) x (Height [inches] – 60)
- Weight in kilograms = 2.2 * BMI + (BMI x 3.5) x (Height [meters] – 1.5)
This means that if you are aiming for a BMI of 22, a 5-foot tall woman will weigh around 108 pounds while a 5-foot man would be about 115 pounds. Similarly, a 5 foot, 5-inch tall woman would be 127 pounds, and a 5 foot, a 5-inch tall male would be 136 pounds.
Height and Weight Differences To Consider
Now, you might be wondering where these weight differences coming from. Just because you are the same height as someone, it doesn’t mean you are going to weigh exactly the same. Multiple factors go into weight differences, including:
- Proportions: Some people have longer legs and shorter arms and vice versa. This changes to muscle and body fat placement.
- Muscularity: Some people have more lean body mass. Men have more muscle than women, and women naturally have more body fat.
- Body shape: Women are more likely to have pear-shaped bodies, while men are more rectangular or have broader shoulders. This difference changes how we carry weight on the body.
- Age: The older you are, the more fat you store and the less muscle you have.
- Fat storage: Different people will store their fat in different sections. Some people store their fat on their thighs, while others store fat on the torso or buttocks.
Summing Up The Male and Female Differences in BMI
Overall, male and female body mass index charts are different in the BMI figures. Men tend to have higher figures than women, while women are allowed to have slightly more fat. That said, the methods for calculating ideal body weight and BMI is relatively the same with both genders, although the numbers used are different.
Remember, while BMI is useful for predicting your ideal healthy weight, it is not meant to be entirely accurate, since it does not take into consideration your overall body composition. Anyone, regardless of their gender, who has more muscle than fat can have the same BMI as someone who is overweight. So use BMI as a tool, but don’t rely on it entirely.
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