There's a huge amount of attention given to the health issues associated with obesity. However, we're big believers in the saying "coincidence is not causality". Visit any fitness-related website and you'll see that it's not enough to be thin – you also need to be fit. Nonetheless, the fact remains that body weight and composition remain significant indicators for health issues such as heart disease and diabetes. So, how do we know what our optimal body weight should be?
Until recently, Body Mass Index, or BMI, was considered the most accurate gauge of the ideal bodyweight. BMI is a ratio of your weight and height. It's calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in metres squared.
In my case, BMI = 85/1.78*1.78 = 26.8.
A BMI of under 18.5 is considered underweight. A BMI between 18.5 and 25 is considered ideal with 25-30 considered overweight. If it's over 30 the charts say you're obese.
The trouble with BMI is that a muscular person will come in with a high BMI as they'll be relatively heavy.
My doctor takes a far simpler approach. He likes to use waist measurements. They're simple although they rely on a correlation that suggests a measurement of more that 94cm for men or 80cm for women are indicators of increased risk for chronic disease. Add another 8cm to those and the risks jump substantially.
The assumption is that increased waist measurement s come from excess fat stored around the midriff suggesting that you're overweight.
Another measurement technique takes into account your frame size. Start by calculating your baseline weight. For men it's 50kg for the first 150cm of height plus and kilo for each cm of height. For women, start with 45kg.
You then need to determine your frame size. Measure your wrist. For mean, a circumference of more than 19cm is considered large. If it's under 16.5cm then you have a small frame. In between is medium.
For women it’s a little more complex as it's height related.
Under 157cm tall
Under 14cm – small Between 14.0 and 14.6 – medium Over 14.6 – large
Between 157 and 165cm tall
Under 15.2cm – small Between 15.2 and 15.9 – medium Over 15.9 – large
Over 165cm tall
Under 15.9cm – small Between 15.9 and 16.5 – medium Over 16.5 – large
All that's left is the final step. If you have a small frame, subtract 4.5kg from your baseline weight for your ideal weight. If you have large frame you can add 4.5kg. A medium frame means your baseline weight is your ideal weight.
So, in my case, at 178cm tall, my base like weight is 50kg + 28kg = 78kg. My wrist has a circumference of 19cm so my ideal weight, based on this system is 82.5kg.
What's interesting with all of these is that, at least in my case, there's not a huge difference in what my ideal weight ought to be. Personally, I think the real test is in maintaining a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet and regular exercise. If you do that, your weight should look after itself.