One of the most common questions that family physicians like Dr. Ali Ghahary are asked, is, “What should I actually weigh?”
When determining how much an individual average weight should be, there are many factors that first need to be considered – such as age, gender, height, bone-density, as well as the muscle-fat ratio.
However, it’s also important to know that the average body weight varies from person-to-person, even if their aforementioned factors are similar to yours.
For example, genetics can also play a role. If you have a family history of obesity, then you’re also more at risk of being or becoming overweight yourself. On the contrary, if your family consists of tall, thin/slender individuals, then you’re more pre-disposed to be that way as well. Still, that isn’t always 100% the case, as medications and certain disorders and diseases can also contribute to one’s weight.
In order to find out what your average weight is, there are different methods.
Body Mass Index
The first one being measuring your BMI (Body Mass Index), which gives you a general idea as to what your weight should be based on your height. An ideal BMI would be anywhere from 18.5 to 25, while a BMI between 25 and 30 is considered overweight. If your BMI is over 30, you’re considered obese, and if it’s below 18.5, you’re considered underweight.
In Canada, the average height for males is 5’8’’, while the average height for females is 5’3’’. Individuals within this height range should weigh anywhere from 107 lbs to 158 lbs; also bearing in mind that men are generally a bit taller than women, meaning men are also expected to weigh slightly more as well.
If you don’t want to go the BMI route, there are other ways to figure out what your average weight should be – which brings us to method #2 – the Waist-Hip Ratio (WHR). To find your average weight using this particular method, you’ll want to measure the smallest circumference of your waist (found just above your belly button), followed by the circumference of the widest part of your hips.
For example, if a female’s waist is 30 inches (76.2 centimeters) and her hips are 38 inches (96.52 centimeters), then her WHR would be 0.79, which puts her at a decreased risk of developing things like coronary artery disease and diabetes. If a female’s WHR is 1 or above, that risk increases exponentially.
Body Fat Percentage
Another method to figure out your average weight is by calculating your body fat percentage, and most gyms or doctor’s office are equipped with devices that can do this.
In order to calculate the percentage of your body fat, you have to divide your total weight with the weight of your fat. It’s also important to know the difference between essential fat – the amount of fat that we require in order to survive (anywhere from 2% to %5 for men, and 10% to 13% for women), as well as storage fat. While calculating body fat percentage isn’t 100% accurate, it can give you a fairly close idea to what your average weight should be.
If you’re someone who’s looking to lose weight, it’s also important to remember that the more physically active and focused on working out you become, the more muscle mass you will gain, and as a result, you may actually notice an increase in your weight before you notice a decrease. This is because muscle weighs more than fat and isn’t something you should be alarmed by.