Measure Your Weight

Confident and happy Hispanic womanMeasuring your weight doesn’t have to be scary. Remember, the number on a scale does not define you as a person, but measuring your weight is important in maintaining your overall health.

Think of your car for a second. Every three months or so, you take your car into the mechanic for an oil change. Why? Well, because you want to make sure it’s running in tip top shape.

That same principle applies here. You have to measure your weight every now and then to know how you’re body is doing, and to make sure that it’s running in tip top shape!

In this section, you will learn more about the two most commonly used methods of weight measurement:

  • Calculating your body mass index (BMI), and
  • Measuring your waist circumference


Tools to Measure Your Weight

The two main ways of measuring weight are by calculating your body mass index (BMI) and your waist circumference. Both methods of weight measurement are a good indicator of your weight so feel free to use either one, or try both! Whether you use BMI or waist circumference, measuring your weight should not be intimidating. Remember, you’re doing this because you care about yourself, your family and most importantly – your HEALTH.

Which Weight Measurement Method is Right for You?

Truthfully, there is no right or wrong method. One is not better than the other. Both BMI and waist circumference are simply tools to help you gauge your weight and health. Go ahead and try both of them, and write down the results to discuss them with your healthcare provider.



Waist Circumference

Measuring tape

This less-common method is a simple measurement to determine normal, overweight, obesity and severe obesity by measuring your waist.

Finding Your Waist Circumference

To find your waist circumference, wrap a tape measure around the area above your hip bone and below your rib cage.

Males and Females

For females, a waist circumference of 35 inches or greater is considered unhealthy.

For males, a waist circumference of 40 inches or greater is considered unhealthy.

There is not a classification chart or various ranges used with this method to determine obesity. Only the simple thresholds for men and women noted above apply.

Waist Circumference Disease Risk Chart

The chart below details the increased risk of diseases such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension and cardio vascular disease associated with excess weight.

Weight Category Men 102cm (<40in.)
Women <88cm (<35in.)
Men >102cm (>40in.)
Women >88cm (>35in.)
Underweight —— ——
Normal Weight —— ——
Overweight Increased High
Obesity High Very High
Obesity w/ BMI > 34.9 Very High Very High
Severe Obesity Extremely High Extremely High


What Next?

If you calculated your waist circumference and it was higher than the above recommended value, you may want to consider speaking to a healthcare provider about your weight. Don’t worry though, this Campaign will help you prepare for that first appointment. All you need to do is take the Your Weight Matters Challenge!

If you haven’t measured your weight using waist circumference, you can use the BMI calculator below or take the next step now!


Body Mass Index (BMI)

ScaleFirst, you have to step on the scale. Don’t worry, go ahead and do it. Remember, it’s a number. Next, you take that number and calculate your BMI. People often hear “BMI” and wonder, “What is that?” BMI is a simple measurement method to determine one’s weight category. BMI is a number calculated by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by his/her height in meters squared. There are four main weight categories that healthcare professionals use when assessing weight. They are “normal,” “overweight,” “obesity” and “severe obseity.” Depending on your BMI, you’ll most likely fall into one of these four weight status categories.

Ready to calculate your BMI? Perfect, simply enter your height in inches and your weight in the below boxes.


Ready to calculate your BMI? Perfect, simply enter your height in inches and your weight in the below boxes.

Your BMI Result:
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Underweight < 18.5
Normal 18.5 – 24.9
Overweight 25 – 29.9
Affected by Obesity 30 – 39.9
Affected by Severe Obesity >40

Normal, Overweight – What Does It All Mean?
Now that you know your BMI, you’re probably wondering what it all means. After calculating your BMI, you either fell into one of five weight categories (underweight, normal, overweight, affected by obesity or affected by severe obesity). Below, you will find some definitions of the different weight status categories and what they mean to your health. Let’s take a moment and go through them.

If you calculated your BMI and your result puts you in the “underweight” category, it is important that you share this information with a healthcare professional. Quite often, people may think that it’s healthy to be underweight; however, this is not true. You want to make sure that your body is getting the daily requirements of nutrients and vitamins to function at a healthy status.

Having a “normal” BMI score means that your body weight based on mass and height is what the Center for Disease Control (CDC) considers normal. At this category, you may not be experiencing any weight-related health conditions, such as diabetes or hypertension, but it is important to maintain your weight and routinely check your BMI. As we age, our bodies change and our metabolisms slow down; therefore, you may gain weight in the future and this could impact your health.

Having a BMI of 25-29.9 puts you in the “overweight” weight category. In this category, you may notice physical changes in your body such as clothes feeling tighter or even feeling more tired after a day of work. Weight-related health conditions such as diabetes could also be a threat at this point. It is important for you to talk to a healthcare professional about your weight and find the best weight-loss plan for your situation.

Affected by Obesity
The clinical definition for obesity is, “Obesity is classified as having a BMI of 30 or greater.” Today, more than 72 million Americans are affected by obesity. Obesity increases your risk of developing related conditions such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, etc. Even though short and sweet, the definition itself is on target. By being affected by obesity you are putting your health at great risk. It is very important for you to see a healthcare professional and discuss your weight. A long term weight-loss program, including behavioral changes, may be necessary to get back down to a healthy weight.

Affected by Severe Obesity
Being affected by severe obesity means having a BMI greater than 40 or being more than 100 pounds overweight. More than 9 million Americans are affected by severe obesity. Quite often, people who are affected by severe obesity actually think they’re “affected by obesity” until they calculate their BMI appropriately. Being affected by severe obesity puts you at a very high risk of weight-related conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, some cancers, stroke, heart disease and more. Please consult with a healthcare professional as soon as possible to decide which weight-loss method will best fit your lifestyle and needs.

What Next?
If you calculated your BMI and you’re BMI was above the “Normal” weight category, we encourage you to take the Your Weight Matters Campaign Challenge. Talking to a doctor about your weight isn't easy, but the Campaign is here to help you prepare for this important conversation. All you need to do is take the Your Weight Matters Campaign Challenge!