Healthy Weight Information Guide

  • by

Information About Healthy Weight
How to Assess Health Dangers of Overweight, Obesity and Excessive Abdominal Fat
Diet & Weight ReductionHelp to Lose Weight

What is a Healthy Weight?

The US National Heart Lung and Blood Institute use three criteria for assessing the health risks associated with obesity and overweight.

Body Mass Index (BMI)
Waist Circumference
Other Risk factors for Diseases Associated with Obesity

(1) Body Mass Index (BMI)

The BMI is a widely used weight-assessment system which gives each person a “score” according to their height and weight. In simple terms, the higher your BMI score, the greater the risk of developing weight-related health problems.

To calculate your BMI, click: Calculate Your Body Mass Index Score

How Body Mass Index Classifies Weight

Under 20 (19 for women) = Underweight
Between 20 and 24.99 = Normal Weight
Between 25 and 29.99 = Overweight
Between 30 and 34.99 = Obese Class 1
Between 35 and 39.99 = Obese Class 2
40 and above = Morbid Obesity

How Body Mass Index Classifies Weight-Related Health Risk

BMI of < 20.00 – Risk = Moderate to Very High
20.00 to 21.99 – Risk = Low
22.00 to 24.99 – Risk = Very Low
25.00 to 29.99 – Risk = Low
30.00 to 34.99 – Risk = Moderate
35.00 to 39.99 – Risk = High
BMI of > 40.00 – Risk = Very High

What are the Weight-Related Health Dangers?

Excess body fat can cause a variety of health problems, including:

– Hypertension
– Cardiovascular Disease
– Stroke
– Dyslipidemia
– Insulin Resistance
– Adult-Onset Diabetes (Type 2)
– Sleep Apnea
– Osteoarthritis
– Gastro esophageal reflux
– Urinary stress incontinence

Drawbacks of Body Mass Index

The body mass index system has several weaknesses. First, it’s weight categories are not universally accepted. Second, it takes no account of muscle-fat ratio. So it tends to overestimate health risks for muscular athletes, while underestimating the risks for older people and those who have lost muscle mass. Lastly, there is no allowance made for age or sex in the weight tables. Once you are an adult, the various categories and weight ranges apply equally to men and women.

(2) Waist Circumference

For people with a BMI of 34 or less, waist circumference provides an independent prediction of risk over and above that of body mass index. This because body fat tissue which is stored around the stomach and abdomen poses a greater health risk than body fat located in the lower half of the body. For example, some studies indicate that abdominal fat plays a role in the development of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, and heart disease.

What is a Healthy Waist Circumference?


Waist of over 31 inches (about 80cm) indicates slight health risk.
Waist of over 35 inches (about 90cm) indicates substantially increased risk.


Waist of over 37 inches (about 94cm) indicates slight health risk.
Waist of over 40 inches (about 102cm) indicates substantially increased risk.

NOTE: For a concise explanation of how ALL surplus calories (from fats, protein AND carbs) are converted to body fat and stored as adipose tissue, see How We Gain Body Fat?

(3) Other Health Risk Factors

In addition to body mass index and waist measurement, there are additional risk factors to consider when assessing your weight-related health. These other factors include:

– high blood pressure (hypertension)
– high LDL-cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol)
– low HDL-cholesterol (“good” cholesterol)
– high triglycerides
– high blood glucose (sugar)
– family history of premature heart disease
– physical inactivity
– cigarette smoking

Weight-Health Assessment

For individuals who suffer from obesity (BMI > 29.9), or those who are overweight (BMI 25-29.9) and have two or more risk factors, the guidelines recommend weight reduction. Even a minor loss of weight (eg. 10 percent of current weight) will help to reduce your risk of developing diseases associated with obesity. Patients who are overweight, who do not have a high waist measurement, and have less than 2 risk factors may need to prevent weight gain rather than lose weight.

For a proper assessment of your weight-related health, talk to your doctor. Your doctor will calculate your body mass index, waist circumference and other risk factors for heart disease. People who are overweight or obese have a greater chance of developing hypertension (elevated blood pressure), raised blood cholesterol or other blood-fat disorders, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers. The good news is, even a small weight loss (just 10 percent of your current weight) will help to lower your risk from these diseases.

Note About the Dangers of Weight Gain in Later Life

Weight gain as you age increases the chances of developing one or more chronic diseases. In the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, middle-aged women and men who gained 11 – 22 pounds after age 20 were up to three times more likely to develop heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and gallstones than those who gained five pounds or fewer. Those who gained more than 22 pounds had even larger risks of developing these diseases.

A Note About Body Composition

Broadly speaking, in a healthy woman of average weight, fat tissue makes up 27 percent of total body weight, muscle tissue about 35 percent and skeleton about 12 percent. In a man of average weight, the approximate percentages are 15 percent fat, 45 percent muscle, 15 percent skeleton. The remaining 25 percent or so, in both cases, is composed of skin, blood plasma, connective tissue, tendons, organs, hair and so on.

Weight of Water Content

Water accounts for about 70 percent of the total body weight of an average person. Muscle is roughly 75 percent water, 20 percent protein and 5 percent minerals and other matter. Body fat and bones are roughly 50 percent water.

Weight of Bones

The skeleton typically accounts for quite a small amount of total body weight. For instance, bone weight in a female of 160 pounds is about 19.2 pounds, while a male who weighs 200 pounds has only about 30 pounds of weight in his bones. Thus although weight does vary somewhat according to bone size or bone density, we can’t really claim that our bones make us overweight!

More Information About Weight Management
Weight Loss and Your Star SignsHow to Look Thinner Without Dieting
What Are The Health Dangers of Obesity?How is Obesity Treated?
What Influences Weight Gain?Healthy Eating GuideGI Diet Information
Healthy Cholesterol LevelsHow to Lower Your Blood Cholesterol Level
Diets For Women’s HealthDiet For Optimum Weight

Back to Weight Loss Help

My System | Weight Loss Diet Program | 9 Diet Programs – Try Them All! | GI Diet | Low Carb Diet | Balanced Diet
Low Calorie Booster Diet | Cholesterol-Lowering Diet | Vegetarian Diet | Support | Weight Loss Forum
Our Weight Loss Community | Weight Management Program Information For Doctors
Weight Loss Help | Healthy Weight Advice | Health Risks of Obesity | Body Mass Index Chart | Obesity Information
Weight & Health Risks | Ideal Weight for Women | Ideal Weight for Men | Waist Circumference | Body Fat Percent
Body Fat & Health | Body Fat Calculators | Reduce Fat Belly | Obesity & Breast Cancer | What Causes Weight Gain
Hypothyroidism | Weight Loss Plateau | Healthy Cholesterol Level | How to Lower Cholesterol | Low Cholesterol Diet
Diabetes Diet | Diabetic Diet Questions | Eating Disorders | Food Cravings | Health & Weight Benefits of Exercise
Weight Loss Tips | Best Support Group | Easy Ways to Lose Weight | Lose Last 10 Pounds | Nutrition and Pregnancy
Lose Weight After Pregnancy | Weight Loss – Pregnancy | Mid-Life Weight Gain | Weight Control in Menopause
Menopause & Diet | Weight and Depression | Teen Weight Loss & Healthy Eating | Help For Overweight Children
Child Obesity | Weight Chart For Children | Weight Loss For Men | Fast Weight Loss | Raise Metabolism
Best Exercise to Burn Calories | Exercise and Calories Burned | Diet Pills | Weight Loss Drugs to Reduce Obesity
Bariatric Surgery | Gastrointestinal Surgery | Health Dangers of Bariatric Surgery | Health Dangers of Gastric Bypass
Weight Loss Programs | Articles | Weight Loss Questions | How to Reduce Weight | Weight Loss Advice
Healthy Diet Advice | Healthy Diets For Women | Reviews of Diets | Diet News | Fad Diets | Cabbage Soup Diet
Weight Watchers Diet | Low Fat Diet | Carbs and Diet | Dr Atkins Diet | South Beach Diet | Zone | Cider Vinegar Diet
Carbs Guide | Carbs & Blood Sugar | Carbs & Insulin | Carbohydrate Needs | Glycemic Index Guide | GI Diet Method
Low GI Foods | Glycemic Load | Diets For Health | Diet & Health | Diet For High Blood Pressure | Fibromyalgia Diet
Gluten-Free Diet | Irritable Bowel (IBS) Diet | Lactose-Free Diet | Best PCOS Diet | PMS Diet | Online Diet Plans
Food Digestion | Calories Index | Guide to Calorie Needs | Calorie Needs for Women | Calories & Weight Loss
Burn Calories and Lose Weight | Calories Used by Exercise | Calorie Savings | Diet Nutrition | Vegetarian Nutrition
Guide to Healthy Diet | Guide to Healthy Eating | Diet Foods | Diet Fat | Good Fat | Protein in Diet | Protein Needs
Good Protein | Good Carbs | Dietary Fiber Guide | Sodium in Diet | Dietary Sugar | Water Needs Add Your Site