Figuring your ideal Weight

How much should you weigh? The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) has devised its own tables of body mass index (BMI), a height/weight measure. This information provides some basic guidance on how much weight is too low, just right, and over the top for your height.

You can easily determine your current body mass index by checking Table 15-2, a table of BMI levels provided by the NHLBI. The BMI is derived from a rather complicated formula, but you don't have to drag out your calculator or your old high school math book to do the equations. The nice people who made the chart have done all those calculations for you. (You can also find a handy online calculator at www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/.)

Note: If you don't find your height/weight combination in Table 15-2, check out the online calculator. Another BMI chart is also available at www.nhlbi. nih.gov/guidelines/obesity/bmi_tbl2.htm for BMIs greater than 35.

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Find out where you fit on the BMI chart, based on your height and weight. Then review Table 15-3 to see what your BMI means. In general, if your body mass index is 25 or greater, you're considered overweight.

For example, suppose that Mary is 5 feet 4 inches (64 inches) tall, and weighs 174 pounds. Her BMI is 30, which means that Mary is obese. To move down into the overweight category — which still isn't great but is better than obese — Mary would need to drop down to 169 pounds, a mere 5-pound weight loss. If Mary then decides that she wants to catapult herself all the way into the normal range, she would shoot for weighing less than 145 pounds.

Being underweight can be as unhealthy as being overweight. Instead of striving to look like your favorite movie star or Olsen twin, you want to strive for a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9.

Table 15-2

Body Mass Index Chart

BMI

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

28

29

30

31

32

33

34

35

Height (inches)

Body Weight (pounds)

58

91

96

100

105

110

115

119

124

129

134

138

143

148

153

158

162

167

59

94

99

104

109

114

119

124

128

133

138

143

148

153

158

163

168

173

60

97

102

107

112

118

123

128

133

138

143

148

153

158

163

168

174

179

61

100

106

111

116

122

127

132

137

143

148

153

158

164

169

174

180

185

62

104

109

115

120

126

131

136

142

147

153

158

164

169

175

180

186

191

63

107

113

118

124

130

135

141

146

152

158

163

169

175

180

186

191

197

64

110

116

122

128

134

140

145

151

157

163

169

174

180

186

192

197

204

65

114

120

126

132

138

144

150

156

162

168

174

180

186

192

198

204

210

66

118

124

130

136

142

148

155

161

167

173

179

186

192

198

204

210

216

67

121

127

134

140

146

153

159

166

172

178

185

191

198

204

211

217

223

68

125

131

138

144

151

158

164

171

177

184

190

197

203

210

216

223

230

69

128

135

142

149

155

162

169

176

182

189

196

203

209

216

223

230

236

70

132

139

146

153

160

167

174

181

188

195

202

209

216

222

229

236

243

71

136

143

150

157

165

172

179

186

193

200

208

215

222

229

236

243

250

72

140

147

154

162

169

177

184

191

199

206

213

221

228

235

242

250

258

73

144

151

159

166

174

182

189

197

204

212

219

227

235

242

250

257

265

74

148

155

163

171

179

186

194

202

210

218

225

233

241

249

256

264

272

75

152

160

168

176

184

192

200

208

216

224

232

240

248

256

264

272

279

76

156

164

172

180

189

197

205

213

221

230

238

246

254

263

271

279

287

Source: National Heart Lung and Blood Institute frww. nhlbi . nih. gov/guidelines/obesity/bmi_tbl. htm,)

Table 15-3

Body Mass Index Levels

Body Mass Index Category

BMI

Underweight

Less than 18.5

Normal weight

18.5-24.9

Overweight

25-29.9

Obesity

30 or greater

Source: National Heart Lung and Blood Institute /www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/

Source: National Heart Lung and Blood Institute /www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/

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