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BMI Range and Healthy Weight for Older Adults

Updated on September 26, 2016

Body Shapes of Women with BMI of 30

Each of these women have a BMI of 30, yet as you can see, they each are shaped differently, some appear overweight, others look more average, yet all are classified as obese.
Each of these women have a BMI of 30, yet as you can see, they each are shaped differently, some appear overweight, others look more average, yet all are classified as obese. | Source

What Is the Body Mass Index?

The body mass index, or BMI, is often used to determine if a person is under, over, or at their healthy weight. It is calculated by comparing one's height to their weight. For most people who are not physically active and have a relatively average body composition, the BMI is a good indication of healthy weight.

If you fall out of the healthy weight range, then you could be at risk for many diseases, especially heart disease, high cholesterol, cancers, diabetes, high blood pressure etc. Also, studies have shown that people with cancer who have a higher BMI, usually have a much lower chance of survival.

Although BMI does not indicate the quantity of fat, for most people it is a better indicator of health than weight alone. A healthy body mass index is set within a range, which means that two people with the same height can vary ten to fifteen pounds and still be considered normal weight.

It is important to note that the calculation is not the end-all, be-all of a healthy size. There are some factors that may cause you to have a higher than normal BMI, yet still be a healthy weight for you.

BMI Index Range KG/M^2 (Scroll Right for Complete Table)

aproximate weight and height
88 lb or 40 kg
110 lb or 50 kg
132 lb or 60 kg
154 lb or 70 kg
176 lb or 80 kg
198 lb or 90 kg
220 lb or 100 kg
243 lb or 110 kg
265 lb or 120 kg
110 lb or 130 kg
309 lb or 140 kg
330 lb or 150 kg
353 lb or 160 kg
4'11" or 1.5 m
18
22
27
31
36
40
44
49
53
58
62
67
71
5'1" or 1.55 m
17
21
25
29
33
37
42
46
50
54
58
62
67
5'3" or 1.6 m
16
20
23
27
31
35
39
43
46
51
55
62
63
5'5" or 1.65 m
15
18
22
26
29
33
37
41
44
48
51
59
59
5'7" or 1.7 m
14
17
21
24
28
31
35
38
42
47
51
55
55
5'9" or 1.75 m
13
16
20
23
27
30
33
37
40
43
47
52
53
5'11" or 1.8 m
12
15
19
22
25
28
31
34
37
40
43
47
49
6'1" or 1.85 m
12
15
18
20
23
26
29
32
35
38
41
44
47
6'3" or 1.9 m
11
14
17
19
22
25
28
30
33
36
39
42
44
6'5" or 1.95 m
11
13
16
18
21
24
26
29
32
34
37
39
42
6'7" or 2 m
10
13
15
18
20
23
25
28
30
33
35
38
40
Underweight: 17.9 and under Normal Weight: 18 to 25 Overweight: 25.1 to 29.9 Obese: 30 to 40 Severely Obese: Above 40

Relative Mortality Rate Per BMI

Click thumbnail to view full-size
You'll notice those with closer to normal bodyweight, had lowest mortality rate, while the heaviest have the highest. Men follow a similar trend as women, with slight variations.
You'll notice those with closer to normal bodyweight, had lowest mortality rate, while the heaviest have the highest.
You'll notice those with closer to normal bodyweight, had lowest mortality rate, while the heaviest have the highest. | Source
Men follow a similar trend as women, with slight variations.
Men follow a similar trend as women, with slight variations. | Source

How to Calculate Your BMI

There are two ways to determine body mass index. You either need to know how much you weigh in kilograms and how tall you are in meters, or how much you weigh in pounds and your height in inches.

  • Kilograms and Meters: Use the equation Kilograms (K) divided by Meters (m) Squared.

K/(m^2)=BMI

  • If you do not know your weight in kilograms or your height in meters, then you can also calculate by taking your weight in pounds (P) and times it by 703. Then you take that total and divide it by your height in inches (i) squared. For instance:

(P*703)/(i^2)

Healthy BMI Weight Range for Average Person

  • BMI under 18.5: Underweight
  • BMI of 18.5 to 24.9: Healthy weight
  • BMI of 25.0 to 29.9: Overweight
  • BMI above 29.9: Obese

There Are Different Standards for Elderly Persons

  • BMI under 20: Malnourished and underweight
  • BMI 20 to 25: Consult doctor about healthy weight range for you
  • BMI 25 to 29: Healthy weight
  • BMI 30 and above: Overweight and/or obese

As a person ages, the amount of fat on their body will increase and their amount of muscle will decrease. One might assume, an elderly person should have a lower BMI as a result to make up for the fat gain and muscle loss, but this is not the case.

An elderly person would be best to have a BMI between 25 and 29 rather than under 25 like the average population.

One reason for this is because the higher the BMI, the more protected one is from osteoporosis. Also an elderly person who has a BMI of 20 or less is considered malnourished, unlike 18.5 for the average person.

Exercises for Older Adults

Elderly people often have limited mobility, but it is important that they remain active. Here are some easy to do exercises, specifically designed for those with limited mobility.

Tin Can Lift - Sit in a chair, take two tin cans and lift them above your head. Repeat six times (or reps), then rest, do two more sets of six.

Heel Raises - Stand in front of a counter. Rest your hands on the top of the counter in order to keep your balance, then raise your heels for three sets of six reps. If you feel any burning, it is okay to stop and slowly add more reps or sets until you can do the exercise in entirety without resting.

Wing Flaps - Take two tin cans while seated in a chair with your arms at your side. Raise your arms like a bird until parallel to the ground, then lower back to your side. Do three sets of six reps.

Runner Stretches - Hold onto the back of a chair or counter top with one hand. With the other hand, hold your heel to your back thigh with your knee pointing down. Count to ten, do three sets. Switch legs, and do three more sets.

What Is Your BMI?

Are you considered

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There are many factors that determine your whether your weight is healthy, not just the number on the scale.
There are many factors that determine your whether your weight is healthy, not just the number on the scale. | Source

Limitations to BMI as a Tool

As indicated earlier, there are some limitations to how accurate BMI is.

  • BMI does not differentiate muscle from fat: For this reason, a bodybuilder will often have a BMI in the obese range, yet be very healthy and at low risk for heart disease and cancers. If you are extremely athletic or have a job that causes you to be very physical, then you may want to keep that into consideration. You can either have your body fat measured at a gym or rely on your waist to hip ratio, which should be less than 80 percent.
  • BMI does not keep in account body composition: Someone who gains their weight in their stomach, may need to be on the lower end of average, due to the unhealthy fat that builds in the abdominal area. On the flip side, one who gains weight in their hips, can be on the higher side of the healthy range.

Therefore, it is important to keep in mind your lifestyle, the way your body is composed, and the way you feel to help determine whether you are at a healthy weight. If you feel great, exercise often, and your waist is thin, then you do not need to worry about the number on your scale or your BMI. On the other hand, if you do not exercise, you are exhausted walking up stairs, then you may want to change the way you live.

Seated Exercises for Older Adults

© 2013 Angela Michelle Schultz

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