If you’ve packed on a few extra pounds, you could be risking your health. Find out what a healthy weight for men is and if your BMI is in a healthy range.
What is a healthy weight for men?
Reaching an ideal weight may seem like a worthy goal if you’re a man wanting to get and stay in shape. But the truth is, not only is there no “ideal” weight for all men, your weight goals shouldn’t be based on what you think looks the best or the physique of an athlete you admire.
Instead, finding out what is a healthy weight for men can help you see whether your weight falls in the healthy range — and, if not, you can work with your doctor on a plan to achieve a healthy weight.
Obviously, bathroom scale can tell you how many pounds you weigh, but it doesn’t take into account your height, body shape, and how much muscle versus fat you have. That’s one reason doctors and researchers have turned to a different way to find out what the healthy weight is for men — the body mass index, or BMI.
What is a healthy BMI?
Your body mass index is calculated according to the ratio of your height to your weight. It gives you a general idea of whether your weight is healthy and whether you are carrying too much body fat.
To see if your BMI falls into the range of what is a healthy weight for men, you can easily perform a do-it-yourself test. Simply use this BMI calculator. Enter your height (feet and inches) and weight and click “submit” to see where you fall on the BMI scale.
In general, a healthy BMI for men is in the range of 18.5 to 24.9, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Underweight is a BMI less than 18.5, and a BMI indicating you are overweight is 25 to 29.9. Obesity is a BMI of 30 or greater.
Another way to check for a healthy weight in men
Excessive abdominal fat — often called a “spare tire” on men — can be a serious sign you are overweight. In fact, carrying too much fat around the middle places you at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute points out.
To correctly measure your waist circumference, follow these directions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- Stand and place a tape measure around your waist, just above your hipbones.
- Make sure the tape measure is horizontal all around your waist.
- Keep the tape snug around your waist, but don’t press it into your skin.
- Breathe out normally, and then take your waist measurement.
A waist measurement of 40 inches or more for men indicates you are overweight and you may have an increased risk for a number of serious health problems.
Take action if you’re not at a healthy weight for men
While being overweight and obese is a far greater problem than being underweight for most American men, having a healthy weight also means you should not be too thin.
Among older men, especially those 65 and older, being underweight is of concern and may be related to not eating enough foods that are nutrient dense, or having an illness or disease, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases points out.
Bottom line: Take time to learn what is a healthy weight for men and see where your weight fits in. If you need to lose weight, work with your doctor on a healthy diet and exercise plan. And if you need to gain weight, have a check-up to make sure there’s not a health problem that needs treatment.
February 27, 2020
Janet O’Dell, RN