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October 13th, 2007

There are a number of ways in which you can determine your ideal weight. You can use the Body Mass Index (BMI), height/weight charts and formulae to indicate a healthy weight range.

Unfortunately all these methods are unlikely to give you an accurate ideal weight range. You may be trying to achieve an impossible target weight.

Body Mass Index
Your BMI is calculated by taking your weight in kilograms divided by your height in meters squared. The resultant value is compared against predetermined set of values that tell whether you are underweight, healthy, overweight or obese.The International Classification of adult underweight, overweight and obesity according to BMI is as follows:



Principal cut-off points

Additional cut-off points




Severe thinness



Moderate thinness

16.00 - 16.99

16.00 - 16.99

Mild thinness

17.00 - 18.49

17.00 - 18.49

Normal range

18.50 - 24.99

18.50 - 22.99

23.00 - 24.99





25.00 - 29.99

25.00 - 27.49

27.50 - 29.99




Obese class I

30.00 - 34-99

30.00 - 32.49

32.50 - 34.99

Obese class II

35.00 - 39.99

35.00 - 37.49

37.50 - 39.99

Obese class III



Source: Adapted from WHO, 1995, WHO, 2000 and WHO 2004.

But this one-size fits all method, does not take into consideration fat and muscle distribution. The muscular frame of many professional rugby football players such as Jonny Wilkinson would tip him into the obese category!

Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Height/Weight Charts
Another method by which you can determine your ideal weight range is to use the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company height/weight charts.

In 1943, the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company introduced their standard height/weight tables for men and women. The tables were designed for adults aged 25 to 59 years. They were revised slightly in 1983 and were known as “desirable” weights. They were originally compiled to indicate those persons with lowest mortality rates not their “ideal weight”.

They are not suitable for children, and their usefulness in young adults is dubious.

The height and weight of Men and Women are gradually increasing over time. People are slightly taller and heavier now, than they were in 1979. As the height of the population increases, more and more people will discover the problems with the Met Life tables.

The Devine formula
Dr. B.J. Devine published the following formula in 1974:

men: Ideal Body Weight (in kilograms) = 50kg + 2.3 kg per inch over 5 feet

women: Ideal Body Weight (in kilograms) = 45.5kg + 2.3 kg per inch over 5 feet

The Devine formula suggests an ideal weight, which would create an average BMI of 23.0 kg/m2 in the adult Male population, (which is appropriate), but for women, it suggests an ideal weight that would create an average BMI of 20.8 kg/m2 in the adult Female population, which is too low.

The Devine formula was intended to be used to calculate the dosage of certain medications such as gentamicin, digoxin and theophylline. But after its publication, the formula became much more widely used. In fact, the Devine formula is one of the most commonly used formula on the internet for ideal body weight.

It’s clear that using a formula or height/weight charts to determine your “ideal weight” can be misleading. They do not take into consideration your lifestyle, health issues, body composition, metabolism, or ethnic background. For these reasons, you should consult your physician or dietician to establish a desirable weight range.

Click here and get a free static health check from that includes your ideal weight.

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