Dear Dietitian – Body Mass Index

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Published Saturday, June 9, 2018
PICT Leanne McCrate Dear Dietitian
by Leanne McCrate, RD, LD, CNSC

I am a 70-year-old grandmother. I am 5 feet, 5 inches tall and weigh 145 pounds. My daughter badgers me to lose weight. She says I should weigh 125 pounds. I think I look fine, and I feel good. What is your professional opinion?

---Grandma

Dear Grandma,

It sounds like your daughter is basing her opinion of your weight on the Hamwi method.  Using this method, a woman who is 5'5" tall should weigh 125 pounds +/- 10%. This method is outdated and based on old NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Evaluation Survey). A much more accurate measure of healthy weight is Body Mass Index (BMI), although it is not without criticism. 

To obtain BMI, divide weight (pounds) by height (inches). Divide this number by height (inches) again. Multiply this figure by 703.  Your BMI is 24.1.  The healthy weight range is 18.5 - 24.9, so your weight is fine. 

 Remember, your daughter is concerned about your health, so try to be patient.

Sincerely,

Dear Dietitian

Leanne McCrate, RD, LD, CNSC, is an award-winning dietitian with over fifteen years of experience. Have a question?  Email Leanne at DearDietitian411@gmail.com.