BMI for women, Calculation, Chart, What is healthy and Ideal?
BMI for women, Calculation, Chart, What is healthy and Ideal?
There’s not a woman on this planet who doesn’t want to look good in a swimsuit. Whether it’s beach season where you are, or the dead of winter, you may still be concerned about your weight, and about the way your clothes fit. Of course, when you look good, you’re in better health, too, right?
Before you head to the gym, check out this article. Did you know that good health isn’t just about looking good? There are ways you can measure your health other than just by stepping on the scale or making sure your leggings look great.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- Why “thin” doesn’t necessarily mean “healthy”
- What BMI is, and how to find it
- What your body mass index says about your health
Ready to learn more? Let’s get started!
What is BMI?
As a woman, you know that certain clothes fit different people in different ways. For instance, if you’re five feet tall, you’ll likely shop in the petites section. Your weight plays a role in how your clothes fit, too. If you’re 5 feet tall and 140 pounds, you’ll certainly wear clothes that are larger than someone who’s 5 feet tall and 100 pounds.
Your BMI is kind of representative of this difference. Your BMI, or body mass index, is your weight in proportion to your height. Research indicates that, for every height, there’s a range of weight that corresponds with health.
To put that a different way, if you’re heavy for your height, you’re more likely to be diagnosed with a (often life-threatening) disease. Conversely, if you’re thin for your height, you can be diagnosed with some pretty serious stuff, too.
So how do you find your BMI? Well, it’s simple. Just take your weight in kilograms, then divide it by your height in meters. Divide that answer by your height in meters again and voila! That’s your body mass index.
Want to know what you should do with that information? Let’s take a look at what your body mass index means.
The BMI Chart for Women: What is Healthy?
When you calculated your BMI, it’s likely you came up with a number between around 18 and around 35. Not every one of those numbers is considered healthy, though. Here’s how it works.
If your body mass index is lower than 18.5, you’re considered to be underweight. We’ll look at what that means in just a minute.
If the number you came up with is between 18.5 and 24.9, that’s great news! You’re in a healthy range, and are less likely to be diagnosed with serious disease. Keep up the good work!
If your body mass index is between 25 and 29.9, it’s time to reconsider your lifestyle habits; you’re scientifically classified as overweight.
Was the number higher than 30? You’re considered to be obese. Was it 40 or more? You’re actually considered “morbidly obese” by doctors and scientists.
In short, your weight isn’t just about how you look, or how you feel. There’s actually scientific evidence that proves it’s also about your health.
BMI for Women: Is There a Difference?
The way body mass index is calculated is the same for everyone. Whether you’re a woman, a child or a man, you’ll take your weight and divide it twice by your height. That formula doesn’t change. The BMI chart women use is the same as everyone else.
Kids’ BMI is measured on a different chart than adults. So, if you’re under 20 years old, you can go ahead and calculate your body mass index. However, you won’t measure your results against the scale we talked about above.
If you’re a male or a female who’s 20 years old or older, the healthy range for BMI is the same. If your body mass index falls between 18.5 and 24.9, you’re in pretty good shape.
So what does that mean for your health? Well, people who are overweight, obese or morbidly obese are more likely to be diagnosed with some pretty serious diseases. These diseases include:
- Certain cancers
- Heart attack
- Cardiovascular distress
- Type 2 diabetes
- Suicidal tendencies
There are many more complications associated with obesity (or being overweight) – these are just a few. And in the same way that being overweight impacts your health, so does being underweight! People who are underweight may be diagnosed with conditions like:
- Brittle bones
As you can see, there are risks associated with being outside the healthy BMI range for women, whether your BMI is over or under the healthy range.
Are You in the Average BMI for Women?
We mentioned that sometimes women feel that if they look and feel good in their clothing, they consider themselves to be average. Or better than average! But that’s not necessarily the case.
In the United States, the average woman has a BMI of 26.5. As you know, that’s considered overweight. In the United Kingdom, women average a body mass index of 27.6, which is also overweight. But in China, women average a body mass index of between 18.8 and 23.9. That’s a healthy average – well done, women of China!
All this is to say that you may be “average as compared to your peers. You may fit nicely in a size 8 or a size 10, and still be classified as overweight. Your body mass index is a great way to determine your overall health, and it’s much more reliable and accurate than simply weighing yourself and looking good in a swimsuit.
BMI Calculation for Women – What’s Next?
Have you already calculated your body mass index? If so, you’ve got a good starting point for the steps that come next.
If you’re in a healthy BMI range, that’s great. But it doesn’t necessarily preclude you from disease. You’ll still need to ensure that you eat healthy foods, exercise enough to maintain a healthy weight, and make good, sound lifestyle choices.
If you’re overweight, you don’t have a lot of work to do. Talk to your doctor about what you can do to bring your weight down to a healthy body mass index. But don’t stop there! Make sure you’re not just dieting. Instead, make lifestyle changes you can stick with to encourage long-term success.
If your BMI is over 30, you’re obese. It’s time to make some serious changes. Talk to your doctor about referring you to a dietician. Together, you and a registered dietician can determine an appropriate balance of foods with the vitamins and minerals you’ll need to bring your weight down.
Keep in mind that you’re going to have to work to attain your goal. This could mean counting calories, or it could mean hitting the gym. You’ll grow accustomed to your new lifestyle before long; sticking with your new program is essential to your long term health.
If your BMI is over 40 and you’re classified as morbidly obese, there are options you may be able to consider. Your doctor will talk you through the dietary and activity changes that will be healthiest for you. In some cases, though, you may qualify for bariatric surgery.
Bariatric surgery is effective in bringing your weight down, but it’s also extremely risky. Weigh all your options before you consider such a drastic move.
Is Ideal BMI for Women Just Vanity?
As you now know, there are serious risks associated with a body mass index that’s outside of the healthy range. You’re susceptible to diabetes, heart attack, high cholesterol, stroke and so much more. In short, obesity is fatal.
With that in mind, you surely understand that maintaining the ideal BMI goes so much further than just vanity. It’s a matter of your health, not just the way you look in your dress. And, in many cases, it’s also a matter of life and death.
We can’t stress it enough: being “average” isn’t good enough. You can be an average weight and height, yet still be considered overweight by medical professionals. Instead of striving for an average weight or an average clothing size, you must strive for a healthy BMI.
If you have any questions about your health, or your body mass index, talk to your doctor! In some (albeit rare) cases, a high weight to height proportion can actually be healthy. For instance, it may be okay for a woman 65 years or older to have a slightly higher body mass index.
Similarly, a woman who frequently lifts weights will have built up many pounds of muscle mass. Muscle is more dense than fat, and therefore weighs more. It’s possible that a higher weight could simply mean more muscle mass.
When you visit your doctor, she can do a number of tests, including a caliper skin test and more. These tests will help determine if a high (or low) BMI is healthy for you.
Maintaining a Healthy BMI: It’s Not Hard!
If you’re already in the healthy body mass index range for women, you don’t have to do a lot of work. Exercise for 30 minutes, at least 5 times each week. Be sure you get plenty of sleep as that’s directly associated with a healthy weight. And be sure your diet is healthy. Steer clear of processed foods, get plenty of vitamins and minerals, and avoid things like fast food.
If you’re under or over the healthy BMI range for women, though, you’ll have a little bit of work to do. As always, talk to your doctor about the best options for your health. Then, get started to build muscle mass or fat, or if you’re overweight to lose excess fat.
Tips for a Healthy BMI
No matter where you are on the BMI chart, there are simple things you can do to make sure you’re in the best health possible. Some of these tips will take a little effort, but others are extremely simple. Take a look.
- Drink your coffee and tea black. It may not seem like much, but there are 16 calories in a teaspoon of sugar. And let’s be honest, some of us like to put more than just a teaspoon of sugar in our coffee. There are also 20 calories in a tablespoon of half and half.
Skipping the cream and sugar in just one cup of coffee per day can save you 13,140 calories each year! If you drink three cups each day, that’s almost a 40,000 calorie difference.
- Take the bus. When you take the bus to school or work, you’re not just doing something good for the environment or for your wallet. You’re also doing something good for your body. First, you’ll have to walk to the bus stop. Then, you may have to wait a few minutes. But studies also show that if you stand on the bus, you’ll burn 50 calories per hour.
- Switch to water. Yes, this is another drinking tip, but drinking water is such a lifesaver if you’re trying to maintain a healthy body mass index. First, try drinking a glass of water before each meal. The water will make you feel full, and you’ll be less likely to overeat.
Secondly, water is essential to your metabolism. Drinking water will ensure that you’re digesting the calories you eat in a healthy way.
Finally, drinking water instead of sugary drinks is obviously beneficial, too. There are, on average, 140 calories in a can of soda. Switch to water and that’s a significant calorie savings!