Weight is defined as
“The force with which a body is attracted toward the earth or a celestial body by gravitation”
This definition may be too technical but the figures on the scale speak volume of your health status. Weight is a gauge that trails an individual since birth; the health of a child is estimated by the weight and the demarcation between an underweight or obese follows the same measure.
Apart from health and fitness, weight has personal and cultural impacts on either sex. Humans are social beings and our interactions have an impact on our psychological well-being. Social researchers have observed that the perception of a society molds an individual into a winning post or otherwise. Weight is one of the criteria that help form this image and rear a content cycle. The more our weight is proportional to the body image sensitivity of the society, our content cycle is stepped up and we are able to thrive.
However, weight management encircles not only the social aspect of our lives but science has proven its significance for our physiological health and for the same reasons, obesity is recognized as a global fix. Weight is not a simple measuring gauge of our body; rather it is a complex interface of many dynamics, which include age, sex, BMI index, height, bone density and muscle-fat ratio.
The present review pictures a female with five feet and two inches of height so the sex and height of the character are known, for this specific condition, let us see what would be the ideal weight considering all the factors.
What is an ideal weight?
Ideal weight is the one which
- makes you comfortable in your body frame
- keeps you at the optimal health, capable of fighting disease
- eases your everyday performance
There are many different charts available that synchronize your weight and height, some simple while others include complex data, to reveal the ideal weight limit. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center
“An ideal weight does not mean having an ideal body. The medical profession and insurance industry use this term to refer to how much you should weigh based on your height”.
Means of measuring ideal weight
The height weight tables by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company exist since 1943 to assess the mortality and morbidity values of the population. These tables were revised in 1983 and 1999, catering for both the underweight cases then and overweight cases now.
“Over the years, the tables that started out as recommended guidelines for the average woman evolved into the ideal standard and a means by which physicians and insurance companies could monitor patients and encourage them to conform to an ideal, and presumably, healthy weight.”
This traditional height and weight tables are replaced by the BMI index because they have many shortcomings. According to Steven B. Halls, M.D.,
“The table results are poor for very short or very tall women, stating “… the Met Life tables suggest impossibly low weights” for very tall women”.
These tables do not cater for extremes of cohort and take into consideration specifically the medium sized body frame.
Nevertheless, according to the Met Life tables, a female with a 5’2” height (without shoes) should have the following measurements
- 111-124 lbs. if she has a small frame
- 121-135 lbs. with a medium frame
- 131-147 lbs. with a large frame
Another method to measure the ideal weight is to calculate the BMI that measures weight in relation to one’s height.
- People with a BMI of less than 18.5 are underweight.
- A BMI of between 18.5 and 25 is ideal.
- Somebody with a BMI between 25 and 30 is classified as overweight.
- A person with a BMI over 30 is obese.
There are some limitations with BMI calculations too; the BMI is a simple measurement that does not take into account your bone density, waist to hip ratio or muscle to fat ratio. An athlete might have a high BMI value than a sedentary person of the same height. BMI charts are unable to describe this difference and place the sedentary individual in healthier section.
According to experts “BMI underestimates the amount of body fat in overweight/obese people and overestimates it in lean or muscular people”
BMI can be used as a tool for adult weight and health management but it cannot predict the ideal weight.
According to National Institute of Health, the weight corresponding to specific height has the following recommendations
- 104-131 lbs, is the normal range
- 136-158 lbs, is declared overweight
- 164-213 lbs, is termed obese
- 218-295 lbs, is extreme obesity
However, these measurements are again based on the BMI and do not cater for skeletal framework etc.
Referring to an article published in LIVESTRONG.com, the ideal weight for a 5’2” woman is about 99-121 pounds.
Shortfalls of weight to height ratio
Since the scenario presented included only sex and height, the only mode of measurement for calculating ideal weight remains the weight and height ratio. Numerous charts available based on weight and height ultimately leads to BMI, which is another measurement with many shortcomings.
- No consideration for frame size of the body(small, medium, large)
- No insight into fat to muscle ratio
- No differentiation between overweight or lean/muscular cases
- No consideration for bone density
- No reflection on the specific fat gaining tendency (pear or apple shaped)
Therefore, these values should not be used as stone-etched figures as everyone is an individual with unique physiology. The ideal weight indicated by the weight and height ratio is an average value for the same age, sex, body frame size etc. Then there are geographical differences too, the weight of an Australian native cannot be compared with an Asian one because of the living conditions, the diet differences, the climate etc, are all factors that affect the development of physique of an individual. Two individuals may be of different physique but in healthy form by the same token.
More accurate insight to your weight can be achieved by adapting waist to hip ratio and waist to height ratio; both can be easily carried out at home.
Significance of weight to height ratio
The height and weight ratios are not without its limitations but at the same time, the significance of this simple measurement cannot be denied. It can help indicate any risks to certain diseases as diabetes, heart disease, blood pressure or osteoarthritis and helpful in making healthy food choices as well as for lifestyle. If you are overweight, you are encouraged to shed some pounds while underweight individuals are expected to gain some. The incidence of morbidity and mortality is drastically decreased with losing or gaining even a minority of scale figures.
The height and weight ratio is particularly important during the early developmental years of a child. Monitoring of these figures has placed them as an important screening tool for childhood obesity in the developed world and malnourished states in the developing ones. While during adulthood, it can screen your risks for various health issues and play as a guideline for weight management.
With advancing years, weight management becomes even more important because the requirements of your aging body are changing. If you are overweight, you might want to add a bit of physical activity to your regime, which was not part of your daily rituals before. If you are underweight and losing your appetite, adopting healthy eating habits with nutrient rich food becomes more important. Therefore, in order to make healthy informed choices about food intake or lifestyle change, a screening tool is important. Weight to height ratio or BMI provides you with the exact gauge.
Maintaining a healthy weight is the best thing you can do for a quality assured life. However, some guidelines for this weight watch are
- Before anything, take into account your age, sex, body frame
- Do not compare yourself with anyone, some comparisons will unwind you while others might drag your morale
- Remember “fit is better than thin”
- While weighing yourself, always consider the timings of the day(preferably in the morning) and clothing you are wearing (should be same) and best to do it on empty stomach, without any shoes
- Use the same scale every time