Knowing whether your weight is within a healthy range can be beneficial. This is particularly true in the United States, where obesity is a significant problem.
American women aged 20 and over weigh an average of 170.6 pounds (lbs), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In height, the average adult woman is 5 feet 3.7 inches tall and her waist measures 38.2 inches.
While these figures may be average, they are not a measure of health. One of the most commonly used indicators of well-being is a person’s BMI, which stands for body mass index.
The average woman’s BMI in the USA is 29.6, which is in the category “overweight.”
Of all American adults, more than two thirds are considered “overweight” or “obese,” which is a worrying trend for the country’s health.
So what is the ideal weight range for women, how would a person best measure it and what can women do to reach their ideal weight?
Average weight and obesity rates worldwide
At 177.9 pounds, the average body mass in North America is the highest of all continents worldwide, according to 2005 statistics published by BMC Public Health in 2012.
North America also has the highest percentage of overweight people, with 73.9 percent rated as such.
The following table shows the weight data for various regions of the world:
|Region||Average body mass (kg)||Percentage of people who are overweight|
|Asia||57.7 (127 lbs)||24.2|
|Europe||70.8 (156 lbs)||55.6|
|Africa||60.7 (133 lbs)||28.9|
|Latin America (Caribbean)||67.9 (149 lbs)||57.9|
|North America||80.7 (177 lbs)||73.9|
|Oceania||74.1 (163 lbs)||63.3|
|world||62.0 (136 lbs)||34.7|
In a 2015 review, the US also had the highest childhood obesity rate among the 20 most populous countries in the world at 12.7 percent, although Egypt topped the adult table at 35.3 percent.
What is the ideal weight range for women?
An “ideal weight” is when a person is healthiest and fittest in terms of what they weigh. There are several ways to calculate ideal weight ranges:
BMI is the most commonly used system for calculating the ideal weight range because it is relatively easy to determine. A person can determine their BMI by applying their height and weight to the following formula:
- Divide the weight in kilograms by the height in meters
- Divide the answer by the amount again
For those who are more familiar with using imperial measurements, there are various online calculators for calculating BMI values.
The BMI calculations are the same for men and women, and BMI correlates fairly well with a person’s body fat percentage.
Nevertheless, the BMI can give the wrong picture, as muscles weigh more than fat. Research in the journal Sports Health showed that athletes were rated “overweight” or “obese” despite being at their best.
A study also criticizes BMI for underestimating the prevalence of obesity among both sexes and becoming increasingly inaccurate as women get older.
According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the BMI areas are as follows:
|underweight||Less than 18.5|
|obesity||30 or more|
Waist circumference and hip-to-waist ratio
Fat is distributed throughout a person’s body, but not all types of fat are the same.
The fat that can build up around a person’s midsection and turn into a beer belly or love grips may indicate a higher risk of related illnesses that can damage your body.
The World Health Organization (WHO) points out that fat in the middle section is associated with an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and premature death.
Furthermore, it is said that calculating a person’s waist-hip ratio is a better indicator of their fat distribution and effects on illnesses than their BMI.
A person can determine their waist-to-hip ratio by dividing their waist circumference by their hip circumference.
According to WHO, women should keep their waist circumference at 80 centimeters (cm) or 31.5 inches or less. Everything else is associated with an increased risk of related health problems, as follows:
|indicator||Cut-off points||Risk of health problems|
|waist circumference||More than 80 cm (31.5 inches)||Increased risk|
|waist circumference||More than 88 cm (34.6 inches)||Significantly increased risk|
|Waist-to-hip ratio||Equal to or more than 0.85 Significant||increased risk|
body fat percentage
The percentage of body fat is another way of calculating a person’s ideal weight. In contrast to BMI, it differentiates between a person’s weight of lean tissue and how much fat is there.
In theory, body fat percentage is a good way to measure ideal weight. In practice, however, there are drawbacks:
- The most accurate ways to measure body fat percentage, such as DXA (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) scans, can be expensive and time-consuming.
- No fixed scientific agreement determines how high the ideal body fat percentage is or where the limits should be.
Still, the American Council on Exercise suggests the following guidelines for body fat for women:
Weight and other factors
A woman’s BMI and waist-to-hip ratio can help decide what a healthy weight is. However, there are other factors that must be considered when finding the ideal weight for women.
shows that as you get older, the amount of fat in your body increases while your muscles lose weight. This means that people who want to stay slim may have to work harder on their diet and exercise as they get older than they were when they were younger.
Because BMI takes into account both height and weight, people who have the same BMI score but are of different sizes weigh different amounts.
For example, a healthy BMI range results in different weights at different heights:
|height||Weight (BMI 19-24)|
Weight Management Tips
The following are seven ways women can try to achieve or maintain their ideal weight.
1. Do high-intensity interval training
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) involves exercise circles that use the maximum amount of effort a person can handle. Each is followed by a cooldown period, which is then repeated.
Running sprints at intervals is one example of HIIT.
Some research suggests that HIIT may combat fat in various ways. It may also improve the body’s handling of blood sugar.
2. Avoid processed foods
are not only less healthy than freshly prepared foods, but are also often loaded with calories in the form of sugar and fat. Cutting out all processed foods is an excellent way to reduce calorie intake.
3. Stay physically active
Stay active, burn calories and positively change a person’s metabolism, helping them maintain an ideal weight.
The US government recommends that adults complete 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. This goal may include brisk walking or playing tennis. Alternatively, they can work out intensely for 75 minutes each week, such as jogging or continuous swimming.
4. Try intermittent
Fasting Intermittent fasting means being without eating for a period of time and completing all of your daily eating within a limited window of time, such as within 8 hours.
Some research has found that periodic fasting may help promote greater overall fat loss.
5. Try a ketogenic diet
A ketogenic diet involves eating very few carbohydrates and lots of fat.
Various studies show that a ketogenic diet can control hunger and cause the body to burn more fat than a standard diet.
6. Reduce portion sizes
Reducing portion sizes is one of the easiest ways a person can burn fewer calories in a day. Simply eating from a smaller plate can do the trick.
Hydrated Adequate hydration is crucial for overall health and can help ward off hunger attacks. Sometimes people can mix thirst signals with hunger signals and have a snack when a glass of water would be satisfying.
Many motivations could drive a woman striving to reach her ideal weight, including personal beauty standards, athletic performance, and health.
Weight problems and obesity are significant problems in the USA. Although they’re not perfect, measures such as BMI, waist circumference, and waist-hip ratio can help a woman understand her weight better.
If people feel their weight is a health risk, or if they have concerns such as increased blood pressure, it may be a good idea to see a doctor.
Moderate and intensive exercise, portion control, and occasional fasting can help promote weight loss, among other things.