What is a healthy weight? The answer varies from person to person. One way to determine whether you are at a healthy weight is by calculating your body mass index (BMI). Another way is to measure your waist size. Both may provide information that you and your doctor can use to determine if your current weight is healthy—and how to go about tipping the scale in your favor. Remember, these tools are not intended to diagnose health problems. Your doctor is the best person to evaluate your findings.

Calculating your BMI

Body mass index (BMI) is calculated using your height and weight. The easiest way to calculate your BMI is to use an online BMI calculator. If your BMI falls outside of the healthy weight range, or if you have any questions or concerns, talk to someone on your healthcare team about the next steps you should take to reach a healthier body weight.

Measuring your waist size

It’s not just the amount of excess weight you may be carrying—where you carry the excess weight is important, too. Carrying weight mainly around the middle of the body can increase the risk of obesity-related health problems. For people with the same weight or BMI, nonpregnant women with a waist size of more than 35 inches, or men with a waist size of more than 40 inches, are at a higher risk than people with smaller waists.

The proper way to measure your waist size is to place a tape measure around your bare abdomen, just above your hip bone. Once the tape is in place, parallel to the floor and not digging into your skin, relax your body, breathe out, and check the measurement.

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