If you are planning to kick start an extensive weight loss or fitness program, it is important to know the ideal weight for your build so that you can accurately figure out how much to lose or gain. The ideal weight depends upon the height of a person, and to some extent on the gender as well. However, it is the body fat percentage that matters the most when it comes to determining the ideal weight for a person.

Body Mass Index

The Body Mass Index is the measure of your body fat based on your mass and height. BMI is used to determine whether you are underweight, overweight or have a healthy weight, taking into account your height. The Body Mass Index directly relates your height with your weight, the taller you are, the heavier you can be without negatively affecting the BMI. BMI calculators can be accessed on the internet for free. Simply provide the required information, your height in feet or centimetres, your weight in pounds or kilograms and your gender, and the online will calculator will calculate the BMI for you.

If you don’t have access to internet you can calculate your BMI manually by dividing your weight in pounds by the square of your height in inches and then multiplying the quotient by 703.

Interpreting BMI

The BMI chart for women has four categories, underweight, healthy weight, overweight and obese. The upper and lower limits for every level on a BMI chart are fixed, irrespective of the age, weight and height. A BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 is deemed to be healthy weight, while a BMI below 18.5 is considered to be underweight and a BMI from 25 to 29.9 is overweight. The fourth level on a standard BMI chart is for obese people, BMIs measuring 30 and more are all categorized as obese. Some BMI charts have another level, morbidly obese; BMIs of 40 and above fall under this category. Since women naturally have higher body fat percentage than men, they usually tend to have BMIs in the latter half of the healthy BMI range.

Ideal Weight

If you want to calculate minimum ideal weight, multiply the square of your height in inches with 18.5 and divide the result by 703. To find the maximum ideal weight, multiply the square of your height in inches with 24.9 and divide the result by 703. Healthy weight for your height is anywhere between these two values.

BMI and Age

Age does not significantly affect the ideal weight for women. The Body Mass Index scale for a 20-year-old girl is the same as it is for an 80-year old lady. However, the BMI is adjusted when applied to young girls and teens and is usually expressed as a percentile.