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Friday, January 27, 2023

What is Ideal Body Weight

The world is changing – for the first time in history, the number of overweight people exceeds the number of the underweight. This is a big social, medical and psychological problem for the ones affected. It is hardly a comfort for you that everybody around you is talking about slimming diets, when you feel that, if you could, you would happily trade a few pounds with them and this way both of you will be happy (unfortunately such kind of trading is not possible).

The mass obsession with watching bodyweight inevitably leads to the question about what is the ideal body and what is normal body weight. There must be scientific criteria that determine how many pounds (kilograms) are normal, how many are not enough, and how many are above the norm. Yes, there are such methodologies for determining the ideal body weight and even though they give a broad range for what is considered normal, they should be your guiding light in deciding whether you need to gain weight or not.

For instance, according to a popular methodology, the ideal weight for a female, who is 1.70m high is between 53.5 and 72.3 kg. The difference between the upper and the lower boundary is almost 20 kg, so if you are somewhere at the lower end of the range, accept that your weight is normal and there is no need to gain additional pounds or kilograms.

Why do People want to Gain Weight?

There are many reasons why people want to gain weight. Although it is generally men rather than women who are striving to put on a couple of pounds (or even more) because the stereotype for men is that they must be big and strong, while for women being as slim as possible is best, there are also women who are making efforts to gain some weight. Though many popular actresses and singers are very, very thin, real-life men do not necessarily like pin-thin girls, who have no breasts and whose ribs and bones are cutting through their skin. So this is pushing some pressure on ultra-slim girls to put on some weight.

Besides the purely aesthetic reasons for attempting to gain weight, there are health issues as well. Similar to obesity, being extremely slim is a serious health risk and it can also be a life-threatening condition. One of the common companions of ultra-slim people is low blood pressure. This is not a mortal danger in itself but it poses a risk of poor blood circulation in your body, which affects many vital organs. Besides, because of low blood pressure, you might faint and fall. Occasionally, very thin women experience disruptions in their menstruation cycle. Not to mention that childbirth is an immediate life-threatener for women under 40 kgs. So it is true to say that being underweight is not a health benefit and if you are under the lower boundary of the norm, you should take measures to gain some weight.

And here comes the question about what the norm is. There are many formulas to calculate your ideal body weight and don’t get shocked that different formulas produce different results. What all these calculators have in common is that they take into account factors like gender, age, height, frame, lifestyle but they give different quotas to all these factors and that is where the different results come from.

Age Role in Weight Gain

The first criterion that you need to take into account is your gender. Generally, men are taller and heavier than women, so the norm about men is higher than the norm about women.

Age also plays a role in your weight and the general rule is that the older people grow (until a certain age, let’s say about 50 or 60, then the process is reversed), the heavier their bones become and they start weighing more. Height is also very important because the taller you are, the heavier you should be. Weight is also related to your frame – i.e. your body structure. People, who have small and light bones weigh much less than people of the same age, height, and gender, who have big and heavy bones. And this is quite normal.

Lifestyle is another very important factor for your weight. If you lead an active life, you will spend much more energy than somebody who eats less than you but is not that active. So you see, the ideal weight is a rather abstract notion and it depends on so many factors! And the main factor is pretty vague – are you happy and comfortable with your weight or not?

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