Based on average U.S. women’s body weights and heights, women in the United States weigh more than they should. An estimated 64 percent of American women are overweight or obese, according to Weight-Control Information Network. A woman’s height, frame size and amount of lean body mass determine her ideal body weight.
Average Weight and Height
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the average body weight for adult women ages 20 and older in the United States is 166.2 pounds. The average U.S. woman’s height is 5 feet 3.8 inches tall. Based on body mass index and desirable body weight formulas, the average woman in the nation -- who is about 5-foot-4 -- weighs more than her desirable body weight. This increases her risk for developing chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.
The average body mass index for U.S. women is on the high end of the overweight range. A review published in February 2012 in the “Journal of the American Medical Association” reports that the age-adjusted average U.S. woman’s BMI is 28.7. PubMed Health notes that BMIs of 25 to 29.9 are classified as overweight, and BMIs 30 and above are obese, meaning the average U.S. woman falls just shy of being in the obese category.
Average Waist Circumference
In the United States, the average woman’s waist circumference is 37.5 inches, according to the CDC. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute reports that women with waist circumferences greater than 35 inches have higher risks for developing type-2 diabetes and heart disease.
Desirable Body Weights
Desirable, or ideal, body weights for women are often calculated using the Hamwi Formula. According to the University of Washington, when using this formula women should weigh 100 pounds for the first 5 feet of height and add 5 pounds for each additional inch over 5 feet tall. Finally, add 10 percent if you have a large frame -- or are muscular -- and subtract 10 percent if you’re small-framed. For example, a woman who is 5-foot-4 has an ideal body weight of 120 pounds if she has a medium frame, 108 pounds if she has a small frame and 132 pounds if she’s large-framed or muscular.
- Weight-Control Information Network: Overweight and Obesity Statistics
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Body Measurements
- Journal of the American Medical Association: Prevalence of Obesity and Trends in the Distribution of Body Mass Index among US Adults, 1999-2010
- PubMed Health: Body Mass Index
- University of Washington: Weight Management
- National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: Assessing Your Weight and Health Risk