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A Different Healthy Weight Chart
for Each Gender


Most people have seen the healthy weight chart that the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company uses. Metropolitan uses the chart to determine the life expectancy of people they insure. There are separate charts for men and women. People fall in one of three categories, based on whether they have small, medium, or large frames.

















Versions of Met Life's Chart


Met Life created their first weight chart in 1943, revised it in 1959, and revised it again in 1983. Each time they revised it, they increased the weight limits. It wasn't perfect. Many health professionals complained that the guidelines were too generous. And scientists wanted an easier way to compare obesity levels of one person or group with another.

Obesity researchers decided that the body mass index (BMI) was the best available height-weight formula to predict actual body fat content. They started to use BMI to estimate people's percent of body fat.

However, they applied the same BMI categories to women and men. As a result, women often say that their BMI weight allowance is too high. Men complain that their allowance is too low. To help solve this problem, we created separate charts for men and women. We based them on the BMI categories instead of on the Met Life tables.

For the women's healthy weight chart, we created an "ideal weight" column toward the low end of the healthy range. We assumed that the ideal body mass index for a woman is around 21. This does not take into account age, frame size, or muscle development. (Standard BMI tables consider a BMI as low as 18.5 to be normal for women and men.)

There is a "healthy but not ideal" column for the higher weights. This answers the common complaint that that the BMI allowances are too high for women. 


Healthy Weight Chart - Women
Height
Ideal Weight
Healthy
But Not Ideal

Overweight

Obese
BMI
19 - 22.9
BMI
23 - 24.9
BMI
25 - 29.9
BMI
30 +
4' 10" 91 - 109 110 - 118 119 - 142 143 +
4' 11" 94 - 113 114 - 123 124 - 147 148 +
5' 0" 97 - 117 118 - 127 128 - 152 153 +
5' 1" 100 - 121 122 - 131 132 - 157 158 +
5' 2" 104 - 125 126 - 135 136 - 163 164 +
5' 3" 107 - 129 130 - 140 141 - 168 169 +
5' 4" 110 - 133 134 - 144 145 - 173 174 +
5' 5" 114 - 137 138 - 149 150 - 179 180 +
5' 6" 118 - 141 142 - 154 155 - 185 186 +
5' 7" 121 - 145 146 - 158 159 - 190 191 +
5' 8" 125 - 150 151 - 163 164 - 196 197 +
5' 9" 128 - 154 155 - 168 169 - 202 203 +
5' 10" 132 - 159 160 - 173 174 - 208 209 +
5' 11" 136 - 164 165 - 178 179 - 214 215 +
6' 0" 140 - 168 169 - 183 184 - 220 221 +
6' 1" 144 - 173 174 - 188 189 - 226 227 +
6' 2" 148 - 178 179 -  193 194 - 232 233 +
6' 3" 152 - 183 184 - 199 200 - 239 240 +
6' 4" 156 - 188 189 - 204 205 - 245 246 +


For the men's healthy weight chart, we created a "healthy but not ideal" column to address the complaint that the men's "normal" range drops too low. We assumed an ideal body mass index for men of 22.5. Again, this does not account for age, frame size or muscle development.

We did not increase the top of the normal range for men, since some health professionals say that a BMI of 25 or more raises disease risk in both sexes. Men who are very muscular might want to have their percent body fat tested by another method.


Healthy Weight Chart - Men
Height Healthy
But Not Ideal
Ideal Weight Overweight Obese
BMI 19 - 20.9 BMI 21 - 24.9 25 - 29.9 30 +
4' 10" 91 - 99 100 - 118 119 - 142 143 +
4' 11" 94 - 103 104 - 123 124 - 147 148 +
5' 0" 97 - 106 107 - 127 128 - 152 153 +
5' 1" 100 - 110 111 - 131 132 - 157 158 +
5' 2" 104 - 114 115 - 135 136 - 163 164 +
5' 3" 107 - 117 118 - 140 141 - 168 169 +
5' 4" 110 - 121 122 - 144 145 - 173 174 +
5' 5" 114 - 125 126 - 149 150 - 179 180 +
5' 6" 118 - 129 130 - 154 155 - 185 186 +
5' 7" 121 - 133 134 - 158 159 - 190 191 +
5' 8" 125 - 137 138 - 163 164 - 196 197 +
5' 9" 128 - 141 142 - 168 169 - 202 203 +
5' 10" 132 - 145 146 - 173 174 - 208 209 +
5' 11" 136 - 149 150 - 178 179 - 214 215 +
6' 0" 140 - 153 154 - 183 184 - 220 221 +
6' 1" 144 - 158 159 - 188 189 - 226 227 +
6' 2" 148 - 162 163 - 193 194 - 232 233 +
6' 3" 152 - 167 168 - 199 200 - 239 240 +
6' 4" 156 - 171 172 - 204 205 - 245 246 +

The "ideal weight" columns on these charts are totally arbitrary. If you disagree with us, just merge the "ideal weight" column with the "healthy but not ideal" column. That will give you a standard BMI healthy weight chart.

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