Calculate your ideal body weight

Ideal body weightWith this calculator you can calculate your ideal weight. The ideal body weight is the weight, which theoretically will give you the longest life with the least diseases.

The calculator and the theory behind it illustrates that many people might not have the need for weight loss they think they do.

How to calculate
Enter gender, height and body type in the calculator. Body type is your own assessment of whether you have a small/thin or wide/heavy skeletal structure. You must ignore your body fat in the this assessment. You might base your assessment on how you looked when you were younger.

Your ideal body weight
140.5 lbs
ft' in''

Background for the calculator
The calculation of ideal body weight is based on what is the optimal BMI in relation to the likelihood of a long life with the least diseases. Recent large studies indicate that the lowest mortality actually occurs at BMI values ​​close to overweight. However, one should not for that reason pursue an overweight BMI, as there are problems associated with obesity that are unrelated to mortality. This could be issues with osteoarthritis, physical activity, sleep and non-fatal diseases.

In this calculator ideal body weight is set, so that it takes into account lowest mortality as well as other problems that may be linked with obesity. Since BMI is misleading for people with either a light or a heavy skeletal frame, adjustment for body structure is included.

What is the optimal BMI for men and women?
If one looks broadly at the core studies, it is reasonable to conclude that the optimal BMI is between 20 and 27. In studies that have gone deeper into the difference between men and women, it seems that either the same optimal range applies or that men are 2-5 BMI points higher. In the calculator the ideal BMI is set to 22.5 for women and 24.5 for men.

Reference Optimal BMI range
JAMA 2013 All: 25-30
BMC MRM 2011 Female: 20.1-24.6 Male: 26.4-27.5
NEJM 2010 Female: 21,3-26,3 Male: 22.5-28.8
Lancet 2009 All: 22.5-25.0
NEJM 2006 Female: 23.5-26.4 Male: 25.0-27.9
NEJM 1999 Female: 20.5-24.9 Male: 22.0-26.4

The new very large study from JAMA 2013 overestimate the benefits of overweight, because overweight is compared with normal weight defined as BMI 18.5 to 25 We know from other studies that mortality is significantly elevated for BMI values ​​between 18.5 and 20 The range we usually consider normal weight therefore include BMI values far from optimal.

How big is the uncertainty of ideal body weight?
In most studies, the risk only slightly increases if the BMI value is a few BMI points from the optimum. This effectively means that if your actual weight is within +/- 12 lbs (6 kg) of ideal weight, it is still within the optimal range.

What is the influence body structure?
If you're looking at body structure as differences in frame size / width of skeleton, then the original ideal weight tables from the 1960s had a correction of plus-minus 10 % of body weight. If you look at recent studies, it appears to be the norm, that differences in skeletal width can affect body weight 6-8 % in each direction. This calculator therefore has a built in adjustment of plus-minus 8 %.

Should you drink cream if you are too light?
No, even if your body weight is 10-16 lbs (5-8 kg) under your ideal weight, it should not be your goal to increase your body fat, but rather your lean body mass. The best thing you can do is to eat enough healthy food and do activities that increase your muscle mass.

Should you go on a diet if you are too heavy?
From a health point of view - probably not. If your BMI is above 30 and you have low muscle mass and lifestyle diseases such as type 2 diabetes, then you should consider to lose weight, but otherwise not. Dieting will for most people be harmful in the long term.

Difference between smokers and non-smokers
For smokers or former smokers the lowest mortality rates are seen at higher BMI values ​​than for non-smokers. The explanation is partly that smokers often develop diseases (eg. COPD), resulting in low body weight. Smokers that are not yet sick will probably be in a better position to cope with future disease if their body weight is in the overweight range. Ideal values ​​in the calculator is set against a mixed population of smokers, ex-smokers and never-smokers.

Influence of age
In general, the optimal BMI increases with age. Roughly speaking, one can say that young people should preferably be in the normal weight range and older people in the overweight range  - at least in terms of the overall mortality. Also for older people one should still remember that obesity can cause other problems such as problems related to the musculoskeletal system and the ability to be mobile.

Overall conclusion
There are many indications that we should  adjust our limits for what is considered a healthy BMI. Generally, a BMI between 20 and 30 should  not cause concern if you are in all other ways healthy. Even if you have a BMI between 30 and 35 and are otherwise free of any disease, then it might still be a bad idea to go on a diet. Especially because we know that repeated dieting is short-term healthy, but long-term harmful. The studies also clearly shows the increased risk of having a very low body weight and therefore this calculator is also intended to help normal-weight people to understand that they should not lose weight.



Association of all-cause mortality with overweight and obesity using standard body mass index categories: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Flegal KM et al.
JAMA. 2013 Jan 2;309(1):71-82.

Examining the BMI-mortality relationship using fractional polynomials. Wong ES et al.
BMC Med Res Methodol. 2011 Dec 28;11:175.

Body-mass index and mortality among 1.46 million white adults. Berrington de Gonzalez A et al.
N Engl J Med. 2010 Dec 2;363(23):2211-9.

Body-mass index and cause-specific mortality in 900 000 adults: collaborative analyses of 57 prospective studies.
Prospective Studies Collaboration, Whitlock G et al.
Lancet. 2009 Mar 28;373(9669):1083-96.

Mortality, health outcomes, and body mass index in the overweight range: a science advisory from the American Heart Association. Lewis CE et al.
Circulation. 2009 Jun 30;119(25):3263-71.

Overweight, obesity, and mortality in a large prospective cohort of persons 50 to 71 years old. Adams KF et al.
N Engl J Med. 2006 Aug 24;355(8):763-78.

Body mass prediction from skeletal frame size in elite athletes. Ruff CB.
Am J Phys Anthropol. 2000 Dec;113(4):507-17.

Body-mass index and mortality in a prospective cohort of U.S. adults. Calle EE et al.
N Engl J Med. 1999 Oct 7;341(15):1097-105.



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#11 Cali 2014-04-16 19:22
Could I get some advice please?

I am a 17 year old girl, 5 foot 5 inches tall, with a narrow bone structure. I weight 108 lbs, and I found this website because I really, really, really want to loose a few pounds, like at least 9 or 10. However, this tells me my ideal weight is around 125 lbs. I already feel that I look very chubby, and would like more than anything to take off that excess weight. What should I do?
#10 Chloe 2014-03-27 20:45
Hi I'm 14
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Is that bad
#9 Matthew lichtman 2014-03-14 00:14
Im at my ideal weight on this.
#8 Rachel 2014-02-08 21:23
Quoting Heather:
Hi I am 26 with 6 amazing kid's and a great husband but before kids I was 115lbs now I am 225lbs I had my last baby may 8,2012 and got my tubes tied but I had 4 c-cections I have been trying to lose weight for 4 months I started at 245lbs but now the weight is not going anywhere I have been the same for the last month not more or less weight help now what should I do

This is a common problem that a lot of people experience when they try to lose more than 10-20 lbs at a time. It is called a plateau and really you just have to wait it out. Keep doing what you're doing & don't get discouraged. There are many things you can do to get off a plateau, but the most successful solution is time & patience. I have been losing weight steadily & successfully for the past two years and have been on several plateaus. They stink at the time, but once they are done, the weight comes off quick! Read up on this & set point weight- hope it helps & good luck!
#7 Tim 2014-02-08 16:23
Be careful - this calculator does not convert between kg and lbs correctly! E.g. 138.3 lbs does not convert to 58.3 kg!
#6 Janine 2013-08-26 18:56
Quoting stummee:
Your article is misleading. That is a first for me to hear that short term dieting is harmful in the long run. Where is the reference rather than just saying this! Also, I get tired of general talking like older people can be overweight. What are older people? What is overweight? Why do you say a BMI between 30-35 is fine and you shouldn't diet?

I agree, and also this article tells a boldfaced lie when it says that people with BMI between 18 and 20 have a high mortality rate, Actually, I read a study that showed people with BMI between 18 and 20 have the LOWEST mortality rate of any group. Yes, even a BMI of 18, which is usually classified as medically "underweight", had lower mortality than a BMI of 21.
#5 Rosa Warrington 2013-06-14 03:18
#4 Morten Z 2013-06-02 19:43
The article is certainly not misleading, but it might be controversial to some. See this recent paper in Nature that follows up on the topic:
In regard to short-term weight loss, this paper has some good points:
#3 stummee 2013-06-02 01:13
Your article is misleading. That is a first for me to hear that short term dieting is harmful in the long run. Where is the reference rather than just saying this! Also, I get tired of general talking like older people can be overweight. What are older people? What is overweight? Why do you say a BMI between 30-35 is fine and you shouldn't diet?
#2 carolyn 2013-05-10 14:16
Hi Heather

Join a weight loss club like Slimming World or Weight Watchers or if you don't have time for that use an app/website like My Fitness Pal (I use this and it's great).

Don't try to lose the weight too quickly. It didn't go on fast so take your time losing it. This means eat enough but not too much. Don't starve yourself - you know you can't keep that up. Do gentle exercise like walking, build up your speed and fitness slowly. Keep going and have patience
#1 Heather 2013-05-09 03:27
Hi I am 26 with 6 amazing kid's and a great husband but before kids I was 115lbs now I am 225lbs I had my last baby may 8,2012 and got my tubes tied but I had 4 c-cections I have been trying to lose weight for 4 months I started at 245lbs but now the weight is not going anywhere I have been the same for the last month not more or less weight help now what should I do

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