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Healthy Weight Center

BMI and Ideal weight

03/11/2009

Question:

Hi, could you tell me if I`m a healthy weight, I`m female 31 years old 167cm tall and weigh 7 stone 6lbs, I eat toast and cereal every day, I`m quite healthy as I go for a walk every day and have young children who keep me on the go.

Answer:

Body Mass Index (or BMI) is a ratio of your height and weight.  According to health experts and national health organizations, BMIs between 18.5 and 25 are considered to be the healthiest with the lowest disease risk.  Persons with BMIs below 18.5 are considered to be underweight.  Being underweight increases your  risk of decreased immunities, which could lead to illnesses and conditions such as lack of menstrual periods, bone loss, malnutrition, and respiratory diseases. The lower your BMI, the greater these risks become. 

Your BMI is below 17 and is considered underweight.  According to BMI tables, the healthiest weight range for someone of your height (about 66 inches) is between 115 and 155 pounds.   First, you should consult with your physician to determine if you have any underlying physical causes for your low weight.  If your physician recommends weight gain, then you should eat frequent meals and snacks that include healthy foods and beverages.  Fruit smoothies, milkshakes, or commercial supplements (such as Boost) are often an easy way to consume extra calories and nutrients.  Try to eat foods that are packed with nutrients in addition to calories, such as dried fruits, nuts, peanut butter, juices, and low-fat cheese. 

It's important to lead an active lifestyle by walking and playing with your children.  But you should engage in weight lifting and strength training exercises 3 times per week, so that you gain weight as muscle mass, rather than only body fat.  You should aim for a gradual, healthy weight gain of about 1/2 to 1 pound per week to reach a weight within the healthy weight range.  Good luck! 

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Response by:

Bonnie J Brehm, PhD, RD Bonnie J Brehm, PhD, RD
Professor of Nursing
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati