As a 25-year-old woman, your concerns with weight may be more about aesthetics than your health. But you might be surprised to learn that a healthy weight is not one that requires a starvation diet. A couple of methods are available that you can use to determine your healthy weight, based on your height. Consult your doctor to discuss what is a good weight for you.
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Using Height to Determine a Healthy Weight for a 25-Year-Old Woman
You can use a simple mathematical equation to determine a healthy weight, using your height called the HAMWI equation. You start at 100 pounds and add 5 pounds for every inch above 5 feet.
For example, if you're 5 feet 4 inches tall, you'd calculate it like this: 100 pounds + (4 x 5 pounds) = 120 pounds. This weight is for a woman with a medium frame. Then, add or subtract 10 percent based on body frame, adding 10 percent for a larger frame or subtracting 10 percent for a smaller frame. You can determine your body frame by wrapping your thumb and forefinger around your wrist where you would wear a watch. If your fingers overlap you are small-framed, if your fingers touch you are medium-framed and if there is space you are large-framed. So, if you are 5 feet 4 inches, tall your healthy weight ranges from 108 to 132 pounds.
Body Mass Index for a Healthy Weight for a 25-Year-Old Woman
The HAMWI equation may give you a range of an ideal body weight, but you may be able to determine if you're already at a healthy weight using the body mass index equation. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the BMI equation is a good predictor of health.
To determine your BMI you take your current weight in pounds divided by your height in inches squared, then multiply that number by 703. The equation looks like this: weight in pounds / (height in inches x height in inches) x 703.
For adults age 20 and up, a healthy BMI ranges from 18.5 to 24.9. Using the above BMI equation, a 25-year-old woman who is 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 140 pounds has a BMI of 24 and is considered to be at a healthy weight.
BMI differs from IBW in that it is used as a screening tool to assess health and predict risk of disease. While the 140-pound 25-year-old woman weighs more than her IBW range, she's still considered to be at a healthy weight according to her BMI.
Fat vs. Muscle and Weight
Your total body weight is most certainly a good tool to use to help you determine health. But people with high body fat or a lot of muscle tissue may have skewed BMI results. If your current weight is within your healthy weight range, but you have a high percentage of body fat you may not be all that healthy. Alternatively, if you're bulking up and adding muscle to your frame, your BMI may suggest that you have overweight or obesity even though you have a low percentage of body fat.
Body fatness is measured as a percentage, and at 25, it should range from between 14 percent and 21 percent for women. There are a number of ways to measure body fat, but they all require a trained professional. Techniques include underwater weighing, calipers and bioelectrical impedance.
Benefits of a Healthy Weight
You may not be thinking about heart disease and diabetes at age 25, but getting to a healthy weight now and maintaining that weight as you get older may help prevent you from getting these chronic illnesses. Additionally, if you're able to attain a healthy weight while you're young, you may have an easier time maintaining it. According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, it's more difficult to lose weight and maintain that weight loss after you've gained the weight than simply staying at a healthy weight.
- ADA Pocket Guide to Nutrition; Pamela Charney and Ainsley Malone
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: About Adult BMI
- Harvard School of Public Health: Healthy Weight
- Human Kinetics: Normal Ranges of Body Weight and Body Fat
- The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Healthy Percentage Body Fat Ranges: An Approach for Developing Guidelines Based on Body Mass Index
- U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010: Chapter 2: Balancing Calories to Manage Weight