Many people wish to know the answer to this question: how much should I weigh? There is no single ideal weight for all individuals. While various tools and calculators offer a guide, they may not be accurate in all cases.

A note about sex and gender

Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.

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Tools to calculate a moderate weight range rely on factors such as age, height, and sex assigned at birth. However, everybody is different, and no single formula can determine a person’s ideal weight.

No one measure of body size can tell a person their exact health status or potential health risks. Eating a nutritious, balanced diet, exercising, and other lifestyle habits can support improved health regardless of a person’s weight.

There is some disagreement among medical experts about the usefulness of tools such as body mass index (BMI). These tools are not exact, and not everyone with excess weight will develop health issues.

However, some researchers believe people with obesity who have no other health conditions are still at increased risk for developing obesity-linked conditions, such as metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease in the long term.

People who want to learn more about their current health status, future risks, and ways to improve health can benefit from speaking with their doctor.

Read on to discover several tools that help estimate a person’s moderate weight range.

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BMI is a common tool that measures a person’s weight in relation to their height. A BMI calculation provides a single number, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) categorizes as follows:

  • A BMI of less than 18.5 suggests underweight.
  • A BMI of between 18.5 and 24.9 suggests a healthy weight range.
  • A BMI of between 25 and 29.9 may indicate overweight.
  • A BMI of 30 or higher may indicate obesity.

However, the CDC also notes that BMI does not assess an individual’s body composition or their health. It is a screening tool that people should use alongside other tests and assessments to determine potential health risks.

Body mass index calculator

To calculate BMI, a person can use BMI calculators or review the charts below.

The following weight and height chart uses BMI tables from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to provide a general guideline for categories of moderate (“normal”) weight, overweight, obesity, and severe obesity.

HeightModerate weight
BMI 19–24
BMI 25–29
BMI 30–39
Severe obesity
BMI 40+
4 ft 10 in
(58 in)
91–115 lb119–138 lb143–186 lb191–258 lb
4 ft 11 in
(59 in)
94–119 lb124–143 lb148–193 lb198–267 lb
(60 in”)
97–123 lb128–148 lb153–199 lb204–276 lb
5 ft 1 in
(61 in)
100–127 lb132–153 lb158–206 lb211–285 lb
5 ft 2 in
(62 in)
104–131 lb136–158 lb164–213 lb218–295 lb
5 ft 3 in
(63 in)
107–135 lb141–163 lb169–220 lb225–304 lb
5 ft 4 in
(64 in)
110–140 lb145–169 lb174–227 lb232–314 lb
5 ft 5 in
(65 in)
114–144 lb150–174 lb180–234 lb240–324 lb
5 ft 6 in
(66 in)
118–148 lb155–179 lb186–241 lb247–334 lb
5 ft 7 in
(67 in)
121–153 lb159–185 lb191–249 lb255–344 lb
5 ft 8 in
(68 in)
125–158 lb164–190 lb197–256 lb262–354 lb
5 ft 9 in
(69 in)
128–162 lb169–196 lb203–263 lb270–365 lb
5 ft 10 in
(70 in)
132–167 lb174–202 lb209–271 lb278–376 lb
5 ft 11 in
(71 in)
136–172 lb179–208 lb215–279 lb286–386 lb
6 ft
(72 in)
140–177 lb184–213 lb221–287 lb294–397 lb
6 ft 1 in
(73 in)
144–182 lb189–219 lb227–295 lb302–408 lb
6 ft 2 in
(74 in)
148–186 lb194–225 lb233–303 lb311–420 lb
6 ft 3 in
(75 in)
152–192 lb200–232 lb240–311 lb319–431 lb
6 ft 4 in
(76 in)
156–197 lb205–238 lb246–320 lb328–443 lb

BMI is just one tool to understand body size, and it does not account for all of the ways that people’s bodies may differ. A person can talk with their doctor if they have questions about calculating or interpreting their BMI score.

BMI based on age

Age is not a factor in BMI for adults, but it is for children. This is because children typically grow larger with age. The CDC use both age and sex assigned at birth in its BMI calculations for people between the ages of 2–19 years.

To calculate a child’s BMI, a person can use the CDC’s calculator for children and teenagers.

The CDC’s BMI charts for children use percentiles that compare measurements with boys and girls of the same age and gender.

If a person has questions about their child’s BMI, they should consult a doctor.

What is the problem with BMI?

BMI is a very basic measurement. While it takes height and weight into consideration, it does not account for factors such as:

  • waist or hip measurements
  • the proportion or distribution of fat
  • the proportion of muscle mass

These factors can affect health. For example, high performance athletes tend have a lot of muscle and little body fat. They can have a high BMI because they have more muscle mass, but this does not mean they weigh too much for their height.

Another limitation of BMI is that it does not distinguish between people of different racial or ethnic groups. Studies have shown that non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic Black, and Mexican Americans may have significantly different levels of body fat but the same BMI as people from other groups.

This inaccuracy may lead to a misdiagnosis or an incorrect assessment of risk factors between individuals.

BMI can offer a rough idea of whether or not a person is at a moderate weight, and it is useful for measuring trends in population studies.

However, it should not be the only measure an individual uses to assess whether their weight is ideal.

Learn more about the limitations of BMI.

A person’s WHR compares their waist size with that of their hips. A high WHR is has associations with higher levels of visceral fat, the fat in the abdominal cavity that surrounds several major organs.

For this reason, the WHR can be a useful tool for understanding potential health risks when considered alongside other assessments of health status.

A 2018 meta-analysis suggests that having a high WHR can put people at a higher risk of myocardial infarction, or heart attack.

Measuring WHR

To calculate their WHR, a person should measure around their waist at the narrowest part, usually just above the belly button. They can then divide this measurement by the width of their hip at its widest part.

For example, if a person’s waist is 28 inches (in) and their hips are 36 in, they will divide 28 by 36, giving a WHR of 0.77.

What does it mean?

Using WHR, a 2008 World Health Organization (WHO) report defines abdominal obesity as follows:

  • In males: WHR over 0.9
  • In females: WHR over 0.85

However, as with BMI, the WHR does have limitations. For example, this measure does not account for a person’s total body fat percentage or their muscle-to-fat ratio accurately.

Optimal WHR differs based on sex assigned at birth as well as race and ethnicity, according to the 2008 WHO report.

Plus, body size is not a direct measure of health. Anyone assessing body size needs to take a person’s overall health status into consideration.

Weight management resources

To discover more evidence-based information and resources for weight management, visit our dedicated hub.

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The waist-to-height ratio (WtHR) is another tool to assess body size. It compares a person’s waist circumference to their height.

According to 2015 research, higher WtHR has associations with worse cholesterol and blood pressure, even at a healthy BMI. For this reason, WtHR may be helpful when assessing health risk when used along with other measures of health.

Measuring WtHR

To calculate WtHR, divide waist size by height. If the result is 0.5 or less, that is considered moderate.

Measurements that take waist size into account can help to provide insight into an individual’s health risks.

A 2014 study concluded that a WtHR of 0.52 or above has associations with a significantly shorter lifespan, and the effect was stronger for males. However, this study did not account for ethnicity.

For example, a 30 year old male with a 0.7 WHtR may be at risk of dying 7.2 years earlier than their typical lifespan. On average, a female of the same age and WHtR may be at risk of a 4.6 year reduction in lifespan.

While population-level studies are important, individual health is about more than waist size alone. A person should talk with their doctor if they have concerns about the health risks that may have links to a higher WtHR.

Learn how to measure the waist.

Body fat percentage is the weight of a person’s fat divided by their total weight. This includes fat found in many different parts of the body.

Body fat is necessary for the human body to function. An individual needs a type called essential fat to survive — it is critical for the development of the brain, bone marrow, nerves, and membranes.

Other types of fat protect the internal organs in the chest and abdomen, and the body can use it if necessary for energy.


Apart from the approximate guidelines for males and females, the ideal total fat percentage can depend on a person’s body type or activity level.

According to the American Council for Exercise, these are the expected body fat ranges for adults:

Activity levelMale body typeFemale body type
Fit non-athletes14–17%21–24%
Obesity25% or more32% or more

Typically, obesity has associations with a high proportion of body fat. Obesity and overweight can carry a greater risk for conditions such as:

Calculating body fat percentage can provide useful information because it reflects body composition, unlike BMI, WHR, and WtHR.

Learn more about body fat levels by age and sex.

How to measure body fat

The most common way of measuring body fat percentage is to use a skinfold measurement, which uses special calipers to pinch the skin.

A health professional will measure tissue on the thigh, abdomen, and chest for males or upper arm for females.

Other measures include

  • hydrostatic body fat measuring, or underwater weighing
  • air densitometry, which measures air displacement
  • dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry
  • bioelectrical impedance analysis

While none of these can give a completely accurate reading, the estimates can be close enough to offer a reasonable assessment.

Learn more about the different ways to measure body fat.

Below are some commonly asked questions about weight, height, and age.

How much should you weigh for your age?

Body mass index (BMI) measurements do not take into account a person’s age. Therefore, based on BMI, it is not possible to suggest an ideal weight for a person’s age.

Rather, a person’s ideal BMI is based on their weight and height.

How do I determine my ideal weight?

One method a person can use to determine their ideal weight is body mass index (BMI) measurements.

This involves dividing a person’s weight (in kilograms) by the square of their height (in meters) to arrive at a BMI score.

What is a good weight for a 5′ 4″ female?

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, a good weight for a person who is 5 foot (ft) 4 inches (in) tall ranges from 110–140 pounds (lbs).

An ideal body weight can mean different things to different people.

BMI, WHR, WtHR, and body-fat percentage are four ways of assessing weight status. Combining results from them may be the best way to get an accurate idea of whether a person’s body size is considered moderate.

However, body size alone does not offer a complete picture of a person’s health.

Anyone with concerns about their weight, waist size, or body composition should speak with a doctor about their individual health and how to manage any potential risk factors.