There are estimates of the average weight and height of women depending on age, but if you live a balanced lifestyle you can be healthy regardless of your measurements compared with the average.
The average American woman of 20 years of age and up weighs
These numbers may or may not be surprising to you. The
As of 2018, the
|Age group (y)||Average weight (lbs)|
You’ll notice that the language used to share stats and other data points is pretty binary, fluctuating between the use of “women” and “female.”
Although we typically avoid language like this, specificity is key when reporting on research participants and clinical findings.
Unfortunately, the studies and surveys referenced in this article didn’t report data on, or include, participants who were transgender, nonbinary, gender nonconforming, genderqueer, agender, or genderless.
People in North America have one of the highest average body mass in the world, according to a 2012 study. More than 70% of the population falls into the range of having overweight-to-obesity.
People in Asia, on the other hand, have the lowest body mass. Specifically, the average body mass index (BMI) for Japan in 2005 was just 22.9. In comparison, the average BMI in the United States was 28.7.
If you need another way to look at it, 1 ton of body mass represents 12 North American adults. In Asia, 1 ton represents 17 adults.
The percentages of people worldwide who are considered to have overweight are listed below:
|Region||Considered having overweight (%)|
|Latin America and the Caribbean||57.9|
Your height, sex, and fat and muscle composition all factor into your moderate weight. There are various tools to help you figure out your number. BMI, one of the most popular tools, uses a formula that involves your height and weight.
To calculate your BMI, divide your weight in pounds by your height in inches squared, and then multiply that result by 703. You can also plug this information into an
Once you know your BMI, you can determine into which category it falls:
- Underweight: under 18.5
- Moderate weight: 18.5–24.9
- Overweight: 25.0–29.9
- Obesity: above 30.0
Although this method offers a good starting point, your BMI may not always be the most accurate measure of your best weight. In some instances, factors such as frame size, muscle composition, and age can render BMI results inaccurate.
Athletes, for example, may weigh more due to high muscle mass and get a result of having overweight. Another example is that older adults tend to store more fat than younger adults.
It’s important to note that BMI for
Even with its limitations, your BMI can be a good starting place when looking at your overall health. To see where your BMI falls, take a look at this chart to find your ideal weight by height.
|Height (ft and in)||Weight for moderate BMI (lbs)|
For the most accurate measure of whether you’re at a good moderate weight, you may consider visiting a doctor for specialized tests, such as:
- skinfold thickness tests, which mostly use calipers
- densitometry, which uses underwater weighing
- bioelectrical impedance analysis, which uses a device to measure the flow of electrical current in the body
The fitness organization, American Council on Exercise, uses the following classification system for female body fat percentage:
|Classification||Body fat (%)|
To calculate your waist-to-hip ratio, you’ll want to first take your measurements at your natural waist and at the widest part of your lower body.
According to a 2008 World Health Organization report, women should have a maximum waist-to-hip ratio of 0.85.
A waist-to-hip ratio of more than 1.0 puts women at risk of health conditions related to visceral fat, or belly fat. These conditions include breast cancer, heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
The waist-to-hip ratio may not be the most accurate metric for some subsets of people, including children and people with a BMI of more than 35.
Keeping your weight within the moderate range can be hard work, but it often has benefits. Reaching and maintaining a moderate weight can reduce the risk of several medical conditions including:
Consider taking the advice below if you need to lose a few pounds to reach a moderate weight. These key steps can help you get there.
Rethink your portions
Trying to lose or maintain a moderate weight doesn’t necessarily mean eating less. Rethinking the composition of your plate may help aid weight loss without dramatically reducing portion sizes. Prioritizing lean proteins and vegetables can reduce the calorie content of a meal while keeping you feeling full.
- A quarter of your plate may contain a palm-sized portion of lean protein, such as salmon or chicken breast.
- Another quarter of your plate may hold a fist-sized portion of whole grains, such as brown rice or quinoa.
- The last half of your plate may be piled with vegetables, such as kale, broccoli, and bell peppers.
Try waiting a while
It’s natural to occasionally finish a meal and still feel hungry. It can take time for the body to process the food you eat and for you to feel full.
If you’re still hungry after you’ve completed your whole meal, you may want to wait before eating again.
Eat breakfast and don’t skip meals. Your body needs consistent nutrition throughout the day to run at its best. Without proper fuel you won’t feel well, and your body won’t work efficiently.
Eat more fiber
Women may want to take in 21–25 grams of fiber each day. If you’re having trouble in this area, add foods such as whole grain bread and cereals to your diet. Whole wheat pasta, rice, and beans are other good options. The idea here is that fiber fills you up quickly and ultimately curbs your appetite.
The current recommendations for weekly exercise are
Drink more water
Women may want to drink at least 11.5 cups of fluids each day. Water is best and lowest in calories, but any beverage — including tea, coffee, and sparkling water — counts toward your daily hydration goal.
If you do want to shed a few pounds, start by setting a realistic goal with a doctor or by figuring out the appropriate BMI or weight for your frame. From there, create a plan with the help of a doctor or dietitian and set goals that you can work toward.