What's an Ideal Weight for a Woman Over 60?

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The number on the scale isn't the final word on your health.
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The scale doesn't lie — or so the saying goes. But when it comes to an ideal weight for a woman over the age of 60, there isn't an exact number to pinpoint.

"Since we're all very different people, there are no absolutes when it comes to the right body weight," Neha Vyas, MD, a specialist in family medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, tells LIVESTRONG.com. And some people who appear to be of normal weight might actually be overweight or obese if their body fat percentage is on the high side, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Read on to learn the different factors that can tell you whether you're in a healthy weight range, including your BMI and waist-to-hip ratio.

Find Your BMI

"Most clinicians use body mass index numbers as an indicator of health," notes Dr. Vyas. BMI takes into account your height, weight and sex. "A healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 24," she adds.

BMI Chart

18.5

18.5 - 24.9

25-29.9

30+

Underweight

Normal

Overweight

Obese

Source: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. 2019. "Calculate Your Body Mass Index."

For a fast and easy way to find your own BMI, use our online calculator.

Love math? Here's the formula for sussing out this number: Divide your weight in pounds by your height in inches squared, and then multiply by 703.

Keep in mind that a BMI number has limitations, per the National Institutes of Health, in that it doesn't distinguish between fat and muscle. For example, BMI may underestimate the amount of body fat in those who are older or who have lost muscle.

Did you know that keeping a food diary is one of the most effective ways to manage your weight? Download the MyPlate app to easily track calories, stay focused and achieve your goals!

Learn About Body Fat Percentage

Body fat percentage isn't generally measured by primary care physicians, but it may be beneficial to learn this number if you're a serious athlete, says Dr. Vyas. "And since there's a wide variability in body fat percentages, it really shouldn't be relied upon as a sole measure of good health," she adds.

Formulas for figuring out body fat percentage take into account your height and weight as well as hip, waist and neck circumferences. To find your body fat percentage number, grab a tape measure and use our handy tool.

For a general guideline, Harvard Health Publishing says a healthy percentage of body fat for women is between 20 and 30.

Read more: How to Estimate Your Body Fat Percentage

Calculate Your Waist-to-Hip Ratio

In Dr. Vyas's primary care practice, she carefully considers waist circumference because links to diabetes and high cholesterol have been found when this number creeps past 35 inches in women.

You'll need a basic calculator to perform this small bit of waist-to-hip math: Measure the smallest part of your waist and divide this number by the measurement of the widest part of your hips. "In women, a healthy waist-to-hip ratio should be less than .85," Dr. Vyas says.

Read more: These 4 Numbers Can Tell You More About Your Health Than Your Weight Can

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