Physical health does not always determine the state of your mental health. People are often found comparing their weight and height with others around them but the healthy weight is different for each individual.
For a healthy body, several factors should be considered including age, height, body type, sex, bone density and muscle fat ratio etc. The concept of a healthy weight also differs between countries and cultures, so the target of achieving a healthy weight is also different for each. One has a lower target weight than other.
Maintain healthy weight instead of gaining more fat. Putting on more weight increases the risk of heart diseases, blood pressure, diabetes and other health problems. Eating healthy diet reduces the physical inactivity and risk of developing chronic diseases at present or later at any stage in life.
There are different parameters devised for calculating weight. Highlighting different standards, such parameters provide a benchmark for maintaining body’s physical look but may not indicate the health of an individual as various other factors contribute to it.
1. Body Mass Index (BMI)
According to health professionals, Body Mass Index (BMI) gives the calculations for body fat based on individual height in relation to weight. It indicates whether a person is healthy, underweight or overweight regardless of factors like age, sex, and ethnicity.
BMI value is same for both men and women, independent of the age factor. Charts and Calculators are quite helpful in calculating the individual BMI.
BMI provides a screening tool to find weight but proper assessment needs to be done to find health status of the body. Detailed medical examination for finding probable health risks is necessary to avoid complications at any stage later in life.
Metric BMI Formula
According to calculations based on the metric system, the weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared gives average body mass index. For conversion of height from centimeters to meters, divide the height by 100 to obtain respective height.
Imperial BMI Formula
When the units for weight and height are altered with pounds and inches, there is also a slight change in formula. The given weight in pounds is multiplied by 703 and divided by height in inches squared.
2. Waist-to-hip Ratio (WHR)
Unlike the body mass index, waist-to-hip ratio provides a measurement of the circumference of waist to that of the hip circumference. Measuring the amount of fat stored on waist, hips, and buttocks, WHR provides risk assessment for development and prevention of diseases.
The chances of getting diabetes and cardiovascular diseases are more among people carrying more weight around their midsection. The World Health Organization (WHO) has given healthy waist-hip ratio separately for men and women.
0.95 or less – low risk of cardiovascular problems
0.96 to 1 – moderate risk of cardiovascular problems
1.0 or over – high risk of cardiovascular problems
0.80 or less – low risk of cardiovascular problems
0.81 to 0.85 – moderate risk of cardiovascular problems
0.86 or over – high risk of cardiovascular problems
Calculating Your Own Waist-to-hip Ratio
You can calculate your WHR on your own by measuring it yourself even at home. For this, you have to stand up straight and breathe out. Measure your waist circumference using a measuring tape. It is a distance around the smallest part of your waist, just above the belly button. After that, take hip circumference by measuring the distance around the largest part of your hips. Now calculate your WHR by dividing the waist circumference by your hip circumference.
There is a chance of an uncertainty while checking WHR so it is necessary to take accurate measurements while measuring it. WHR does not accurately measure a person’s total body fat percentage or muscle-to-fat ratio. However, it better indicates the ideal weight and potential health risks than BMI. It is also not recommended for children.
3. Waist-to-height Ratio
Unlike other parameters, the Waist-to-height ratio is applicable for both tall and short people. Instead of just measuring waist circumference, the waist-to-height ratio is not only applicable to people with different heights but also takes children and adults into account.
Studies have shown that waist-to-height ratio provides more accurate and valid measurement than BMI. For measurement, an inch above the belly button, measure your waist circumference and divide it by your height.
More precisely, according to the guideline by World Health Organization, measure your waist mid-way between the lower rip and the iliac crest (the top of the pelvic bone at the hip).
If the ratio appears to be less than 43% you are underweight. If it is in between 43% to 52%, it is an indication of healthy weight and ratio from 53% to 62% indicates being overweight. A ratio over 63% is considered in a category of being obese.
A 6 ft tall man should keep his waist measurement below 36 inches, while a woman with a height of 5ft 4 inches should keep her waist measurement below 32 inches.
4. Body Fat Percentage
Body fat percentage gives a count of whole body fat including essential fat, storage fat and total body fat percentage. The ideal body fat percentage varies for each individual and even among men and women based on the activity level.
The amount of fat needed for survival is known as essential fat. Women with high body essential fat percentage are considered healthier than men, so careful medical assessment needs to be done to maintain it. Essential fat makes its 2 to 5 % content in men and 10 to 13 % in women.
The fat stored in a body makes the storage fat. Adipose tissues provide the storage capacity for it, maintain the body temperature and also protecting body organs like chest and abdomen from external damage. The essential fat and storage fat make Total body fat percentage.
Whatever method you are using for weight assessment, consider eating healthy food. Health is wealth and it needs to be maintained by examining your overall diet pattern and by restricting yourself to low- fat and low-sugar diet.