How much should I weigh? (calculate ideal weight)

Caliber in use. Photo: Africa Studio / shutterstock.com



Have you ever wondered how much you should weigh? Although there is no general answer to this, you can determine some reference values ​​yourself. That’s how it’s done.

What is the ideal weight anyway?

Unlike a simple math problem, there is no one right answer here. Every body is different, the ideal weight depends on many factors:

  • age
  • sex
  • Body fat and muscle composition
  • stature etc.

There are now various models for calculating a reference range in which the ideal weight should lie. In this case, ideal has nothing to do with aesthetics, but refers to scientific findings about the role that too much body fat plays in the development of certain diseases such as type 2 diabetes mellitus or cardiovascular diseases or the negative consequences of being underweight.

Depending on your height, this ideal range can be up to 20 kg. So there is no one value that applies to all. But since the risk of various diseases increases with a certain degree of excess weight, you should strive for a healthy but at the same time sustainable weight.

The following key figures provide information on how much you must weigh in order not to exceed a certain value.


Use BMI to calculate how much you should weigh

When it comes to getting a reference range for the ideal weight, the body mass index (BMI) is most often used. This can be calculated for adults with a simple formula: body weight divided by height squared.



Body weight (kg): Height (m²) = BMI

With a height of 1.75 m and 82 kg, your BMI would be: 26.77 (slightly overweight)

If you do not want to do the calculation yourself, you can e.g. use the BMI calculator from the Federal Center for Nutrition.

a message: The calculation examples above cannot be transferred to children. Information on how much children should weigh at different ages and stages of growth can be found in the brochure “Tut uns gut” from the Federal Ministry of Health.

Order body fat scales with BMI calculator from Amazon (DISPLAY)

BMI classifications according to WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) specifies the following reference ranges for the classification of BMI:

  • Under 18.5: Underweight
  • 18.5 to 24.9: normal weight
  • 25 to 29.9: obese
  • 30 to 34.9: obesity (obesity) degree I
  • 35 to 39.9: Grade II obesity
  • Over 40: Grade III obesity

How much should I weigh: table


Graphics: Lukas Böhl

*The numbers presented here are sample mean values ​​calculated using data from the Federal Center for Nutrition and the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

Criticism of BMI

Just as a household scale only shows weight and not body fat percentage, BMI does not distinguish between fat and lean mass (bone, muscle, etc.). So a very muscular athlete could have a BMI over 25 even though their body fat percentage is not in the critical range. The calculation of BMI also does not take into account where the fat is located on the body. But since abdominal fat in particular is a health risk, other measuring methods should also be used to calculate the ideal weight.

Also read: Get rid of belly fat


Other methods of determining the ideal weight

waist to hip ratio

Waist-to-hip ratio is not based on height to weight, but on hip and waist circumference.

How to determine your waist-to-hip ratio:

1. Stand up straight, push your feet together and exhale. Take a measuring tape and measure your waist at the narrowest point just above the navel.

2. Now measure your hips at the widest point, i.e. at the widest point of the butt.

3. Divide the waist measurement by the hip measurement and you get your waist-to-hip ratio.

According to the WHO, the following values ​​are considered healthy:

Men: 0.9 or less

Women: 0.85 or less

But even this measurement method is not infallible. Muscular or wide hips (e.g. due to lipedema) can falsify the result, as can a height of less than 1.50 m. Therefore, the method is also unsuitable for children.


waist-to-height ratio

With the waist size index, the waist circumference is shifted in relation to the height. The calculation is very simple.

1. Measure your waist above the navel.

2. Divide this value by your height.

waist-to-height ratio = waist circumference : height

According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), a result of over 0.5 – regardless of age and gender – is the limit for obesity. The cutoff for underweight is around 0.42 to 0.43.


body fat percentage

There are many methods of measuring body fat percentage: bioimpedance analysis, dual X-ray absorptiometry, air displacement plethysmography, etc. With a caliper and an online calculator, it should also be possible to determine body fat at home. However, it can be difficult for lay people to find the right measuring points and work precisely. This can falsify the results. Especially since there are different measurement methods and a good caliper is not exactly cheap. It is therefore advisable to have a body fat measurement carried out by a doctor or a trained fitness trainer.

Reference values ​​for body fat percentage in women and men


Source: ACE

Also read: Can men lose belly fat faster than women?


How meaningful are such values?

Although the measurement methods mentioned here are based on scientific results and are certainly suitable for obtaining a quick and cheap classification of one’s own weight, one cannot conclude from this that fat equals disease, thin equals healthy. Your results should be taken for what they are: statistical values. However, this does not replace a medical examination and diagnosis.


Useful information for eating disorders

If you or someone close to you suffers from an eating disorder, you will find useful information and offers of help on the website of the Federal Ministry of Health or at the Federal Center for Health Education.

Now read on: 6 tips to boost your metabolism

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