- Use our table below to figure out your weight range for your height and frame size.
- Genetics plays a part in weight, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat healthier and work out more often.
- Americans are on average 20-35 pounds heavier than the ideal weights shown below.
Healthy life. Wealthy life.
One of the most interesting things we learned from our age 90+ study on living longer is that it’s better to gain weight as we age. Being too thin actually correlates with a shorter lifespan. Given my only exercise besides tennis 3X a week is moving my jaw to eat tasty In N’ Out burgers, I have no problem with Dr. Kawas’ findings. Perhaps you’re on board as well, especially after a long weekend full of cooking or dining out.
But what exactly is a healthy body weight for males and females? At 5′ 10″ and 165 pounds, I’m 15 pounds heavier than I was in high school and 10 pounds heavier than I was in college. When I see Kei Nishikori, a top 10 tennis player come in at 154 pounds at the same height, I start feeling a little self-conscious. It seems to me that weight gain is an inevitability as we age. But I’m sure the fittest people in the world will just say that’s an excuse for not eating well and exercising every day.
In this post I’d like to highlight a healthy body weight chart for males and females after doing some research online and consulting with my doctor after a physical. I’ll also provide some anecdotal evidence why genetics play a bigger part in determining our weight vs. dieting and exercise. Hopefully you’ll share your own anecdotes as well.
THE IDEAL WEIGHT FOR ADULT MEN AND WOMEN
There are numerous calculators which determine what you should weigh based on your frame size and height. I checked out four health sites (healthstatus.com, halls.md, healthcentral.com, healthdiscovery.net), and found that Healthdiscovery.net’s estimates look to be the most accurate and reasonable. One site had the ideal weight for a man 5’10” at 129 pounds on the lower end, for example. I didn’t realize the starvation look was in.
Have a look for yourself and see whether you agree or not with the weight charts. (visit the post if it does not show up on e-mail)
THE IDEAL WEIGHT CHART FOR MEN
THE IDEAL WEIGHT CHART FOR WOMEN
* Definition of medium-frame: Your middle finger and thumb just touch when you hold your wrist. You are large-framed if your fingers do not touch. You are small-framed if your fingers overlap. You can calculate your Body Mass Index as well.
THE CHARTS DON’T LIE, ONLY WE DO
Based on the chart above, I’m 2-14 pounds above ideal weight for a man my height and frame. That sounds like a lot, but deep down I know that’s correct because I was once that weight range as a fit teenager and active college student. Over the years we keep telling ourselves that our weight creep is OK due to work and family responsibilities. I mentally allowed for one pound a year of weight gain until death. Nobody has the luxury to exercise for two hours a day anymore to stay in shape. Good thing the 90+ study also told us that we only need 15 minutes of moderate exercise a day for a longer life.
If you take a look at the weight for the top tennis players, they pretty much all fit in the weight chart ranges above. And if you look up 6 foot tall NBA guards such as Allen Iverson, Aaron Brooks, Luke Ridnour, Sebastain Telfair, and TJ Ford, they all weigh between 155 – 167 lbs as well. Of course none of us are world class professional athletes, but at least we know the charts have veracity.
GENETICS AND WEIGHT
I have a theory that the more fit one is, the more one attributes their fitness to physical exercise and a disciplined diet and vice versa. The same theory goes for wealthier people who attribute more of their success due to their own doing, rather than recognizing luck and circumstance.
One friend admonished another for saving so little at his age, even though my friend’s parents paid for her private college tuition and her private business school tuition as an adult. When you’ve got a six figure student debt bill to pay off the first 10 years of your career, it’s hard to save as much don’t you think? It’s interesting how those born on third base love to highlight their home runs.
I’m in the camp that believes genetics play a larger role in determining your weight than diet and exercise. Perhaps not a huge percentage greater – 60% genetics /40% diet and exercise – but greater nonetheless.
Here are three anecdotes arguing for genetics:
1) It doesn’t matter how much I work out, I’ll never grow as large or as ripped as Mr. Olympia. Even when I was only 150 pounds and lifting weights every day, I couldn’t develop six pack abs or bench more than 250 pounds, whereas my classmate who hardly worked out looked cut out of stone and could bench 325 pounds while weighing 155 pounds.
2) Steve Jobs was a health nut and a devote vegetarian for most of his life and still died 24 years younger than the median life expectancy at age 56. There was no escaping pancreatic cancer, no matter how much he dieted and exercised.
3) On September 18, 2012, a death row inmate by the name of Ronald Post asked to have his execution delayed due to his weight. Ronald shot and killed a hotel clerk in northern Ohio 31 years ago. Ronald was over 450 pounds and in prison for over 25 years. Last I checked, prison doesn’t serve all-you-can-eat buffet meals. Here’s the Federal Bureau Of Prisons meal plan from 2012 if you’d like to see for yourself.
TIME TO GET MOTIVATED, OR NOT
According to a Gallup Poll, American men are weighing in at an average of 196 pounds today — 16 pounds more than in 1990. The average weight for women jumped 14 pounds to 156 pounds over the same period (neither sexes have gotten much taller since). Given the average height for an American man is 5′ 10″ and the average height for an American woman is 5′ 3″, Americans on average are 20-35 pounds heavier than the ideal weight in the charts above.
Sure, we may not be born with wealthy parents or terrific genetics. But we all have the power to get our weight down to the lower end of our genetically-determined weight band and stay there if we really want to. It’s just important to recognize our limits, otherwise we’ll be miserable trying to get there.
The next time you are eating a double cheeseburger with a diet Coke, know that you’ll be OK because genetics will keep you from growing too big. And if genetics proves not to be your savior, then perhaps a celery stick and a yummy glass of water are more appropriate for your next meal. See you all at the beach! Or in the gym.
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Photo: Jumping into the Mediterranean Sea in Korkula, Croatia.
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