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How to Calculate Your Ideal Weight: Three Science-Based Methods


Source: Rbc style

Concern about your weight is one of the signs of the times. Rbc style decided to figure out what overweight threatens and what methods are used when calculating weight.

Photo: Shutterstock

Naomi Wolf in the book "The Myth of Beauty" traces the change in the ideal of a woman's figure over time and states a generally obvious fact: youth (and more often even adolescence) and slenderness turning into thinness are usually presented as more attractive qualities. Recent advances in the body-positive movement and the fight against ageism are good for high-impact advertising campaigns, but are far from penetrating the mainstream.

Judging by the advertisements of sports clubs and beauty salons offering massage and other body treatments, to lose an extra two or three or five kilograms is an absolute boon for everyone. Because everyone has these extra pounds.

In The Myth of Beauty, this is described as a “one stone solution”, that is, 6,35 kg. This is how much most women want to lose. This stone prevents them from enjoying life, makes them feel guilty and shame. And he also has nothing to do with an objective assessment of his body. The process of accepting yourself takes thoughtful work, but you can start with the data that we know about weight.

How weight is calculated based on height

The easiest and most popular way is to calculate your body mass index (BMI). This is the ratio of the weight in kilograms to the square of the height in meters (kg / m2). You can make a calculation for example on the table National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at the US National Institutes of Health. True, you will need to convert meters to inches, and kilograms to pounds. A convenient calculator with a metric system is available on the website of this institute. Values ​​in the range of 18,5-24,9 are considered normal weight. Lower scores indicate underweight, while higher scores indicate overweight or obesity.

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Body mass index is not perfect

It seems that everything is simple, but BMI does not take into account the ratio of muscle and fat tissues, bone density, as well as age and gender, so it cannot be an absolutely accurate indicator. In a young athlete, it will be higher precisely due to muscles and denser bones, and in an elderly person, even with not very high rates, there may be excess fat mass.

As Naomi Parelli from RUSH University noted in a conversation with Health Line, muscle mass decreases with age, while fat mass, on the contrary, increases. It should also be borne in mind that women usually have more adipose tissue than men. The latter can be heavier precisely due to the muscles. For children of different age groups, BMI must be calculated according to other tables, they can be found on the WHO website.

The distribution of adipose tissue affects weight

Another way to track the formation of excess adipose tissue is to measure your waist. Even with low BMI values, this indicator may indicate the presence (or absence) of visceral obesity - the deposition of adipose tissue around the internal organs.

Normally, the waist circumference for women should be no more than 80-88 cm, and for men - within 90-102 cm (data differ from organization to organization).

Another indicator that is used to assess the risks associated with overweight and obesity is the ratio of waist to hip. According to WHO, for women it should not exceed 0,85, while for men it should not exceed 0,9.

None of these methods (BMI, waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio) can be considered comprehensive. But if by all indicators you have a norm, then talking about excess weight is hardly reasonable.

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Than overweight threatens

A high BMI increases the risk of many non-communicable diseases: the cardiovascular system and the musculoskeletal system, diabetes, and some types of cancer. If the body mass index is overweight (25 to 29), the main recommendation is not to gain more, provided the person does not have other risk factors. Among them, high blood pressure, high levels of "bad" cholesterol and low "good", high sugar levels, sedentary lifestyle, smoking and others. If at least two additional factors are present, even small weight loss will bring tangible benefits.

Other weight calculation techniques

There are other systems for calculating the rate of weight. There are sites with various calculators and tables that calculate weight using the formulas of Brock, Egorov-Levitsky, Lorenz and others. In most cases, you will get an estimate close to BMI, sometimes it will differ from him, but not too much. But before starting this exciting journey, it is worth asking yourself the question: why? BMI, with all its shortcomings described above, is used as a tool for diagnosing risks, but, for example, Lorenz's dream is not. If you want to take a test, read and apply WHO recommendations, or consult a doctor, you will need BMI.

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