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BMI, body charts, frame sizes, etc.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A friend of mine asked me and several other friends the following: "I just signed back into Weight Watchers. My starting weight is 254.0...I'm going to shoot for 150. I know...I know..."that's too skinny! You'll look sickly!" But, my "Ideal weight for my height is anywhere between 129 and 170" depending on my "frame". Now I know I have broad shoulders but I figure the middle of the road is that's the goal."

So, I had to reply, and this is what I wrote:

No offense, but you shouldn't be aiming for the middle of the weight parameters for your height. You should be taking it slowly and seeing where your body really needs to be. I'm on the weight loss train (again) myself. Yes, for my frame and height, there are numbers of where I should be. But are those right for my body? At my age?

Okay, that was the tough love part. I just worry that you're setting yourself up for a goal that may be unattainable - or too difficult to be worth it? Or you might be right in the long run. But I have some questions for you:

First, what is your height?

Second, what is your body frame? If you don't know your body frame, that needs to be determined before you set even lose goals. Men:

Height over 5' 5"
Small = wrist size 5.5" to 6.5"
Medium = wrist size 6.5" to 7.5"
Large = wrist size over 7.5"

There is also another way to determine body frame size, which I'll list later.

Third, what chart did you get this info from, as I don't know of any charts with that wide of a spread? For example, for a man that is 5'6", the charts general state that an ideal weight for a small frame is about 136-142, for a medium frame it is about 139-151, and for a large frame it is about 146-164. The total spread there is 136-164. I couldn't find anything for any height that listed 129-170... unless you're going off BMI, which doesn't take into account body frame or muscle at all.

Here is a link to the "Met" tables (with an explanation of where the name and the figures come from, as well as a couple of ways to determine body frame size):

***Do keep in mind that these tables were meant to be used wearing 1" shoes - so add an inch to your height when looking at the tables. Also, people are slightly taller and heavier now, than they were in 1979. As population tallness increases, more and more people will discover the problems with the Met Life tables. The tables give reasonable results for people whose stature (tallness) is slightly shorter than the average, but the table results are poor for very short people, and particularly poor for tall people. MEANING - THESE TABLES MIGHT BE A BIT ON THE LOW SIDE FOR CERTAIN HEIGHTS.

And fourth, are you planning on having any muscles? Muscles weigh more. So, you have to figure out if your body re-shaping is going to include some good musculature. If so, you might not want to set an overall end weight goal, but rather, start getting healthy and see where it goes.

All that being said, you can tell I've spent a lot of time researching this in my own quest for a healthy weight. I use a free website (I might have mentioned it before): which has tons of resources to get healthy. Let me know if you want to chat more about it.
I'm reposting the tables below just for quick reference.

Height and then weight parameters for women with sm, med, large frames:

4' 10" 102-111 109-121 118-131
4' 11" 103-113 111-123 120-134
5' 0" 104-115 113-126 122-137
5' 1" 106-118 115-129 125-140
5' 2" 108-121 118-132 128-143
5' 3" 111-124 121-135 131-147
5' 4" 114-127 124-138 134-151
5' 5" 117-130 127-141 137-155
5' 6" 120-133 130-144 140-159
5' 7" 123-136 133-147 143-163
5' 8" 126-139 136-150 146-167
5' 9" 129-142 139-153 149-170
5' 10" 132-145 142-156 152-173
5' 11" 135-148 145-159 155-176
6' 0" 138-151 148-162 158-179
Weights at ages 25-59 based on lowest mortality. Weight in pounds according to frame (in indoor clothing weighing 3 lbs.; shoes with 1" heels).

I had originally posted the elbow measurement table here, but it didn't format well, so I'm taking it out. Visit the website I listed above.

Again, as with my advice to my friend, I'm not taking these as absolutes, merely loose guidelines. I've written this stuff before, but couldn't find the blog.

Cheers and goodnight.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • ADZY86
    This is so so interesting! Thank you so much for sharing. I do not ever ever go by the BMI chart. I think it totally doesn't take into account different body frames or muscle. It's very annoying. Yes, I do know I need to lose weight, but according to the BMI chart I'm about a pound away from being obese! I can guarantee you that that whilst I am overweight, no one would or could class me as obese. I'm 5ft9', with a large frame (from my African heritage) and I'm curvy and I want to maintain that. I also have no idea what my end weight will be, but it sure won't be what the BMI chart tells me I need to be to be 'healthy'...that's about 35lbs away and I know I will look awful if I lost that much weight!

    I think we should all just aim to be a weight that we feel confortable and happy at, and that we can maintain for the rest of our lives. I'm happy to remain a couple of pounds overweight if it is a weight I can stick with forever. Good luck to u all, and I hope your friend takes your advice
    2040 days ago
  • X5X52000
    emoticon emoticon
    2041 days ago
  • LADYJ6942
    Very interesting, it is amazing how one inquiry can create oh so many different answers. Good luck on your journey.
    2041 days ago
    Interesting thanks for sharing. xxx

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2041 days ago
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