As women age, their bodies change and can affect their metabolism and their capacity for physical activity. However, it is still of utmost importance to maintain a healthy weight in order to avoid conditions and diseases brought on by being under or overweight. Knowing what your ideal weight is, and attaining and maintaining that weight with proper diet and exercise, can be the key to a long, healthy life.
Normal body weight for both males and females age 20 and over is defined by the CDC as a Body Mass Index (BMI) between 18.5 and 24.9. BMI is calculated using a fairly simple formula based only on a person’s height and weight. The “ideal” weight is said to produce a BMI measurement of 22. This, then, should be your goal in achieving and maintaining an ideal weight.
The formula for finding your BMI requires that you divide your weight (in pounds) by your height (in inches) squared, and multiply this number by 703, but many BMI calculators can be found on the Internet. A BMI below 18.5 means that you are classified as underweight. A BMI of 25 to 29.9 signifies a person is overweight, and 30 and over denotes obesity. You want to have a weight that is deemed proportionate to your height; the closer to a BMI of 22 you can get, the better.
Avoiding the extremes of being underweight, overweight or obese is very important for your health and longevity. Being underweight is known to cause infertility, osteoporosis, a weak immune system and anemia, while being overweight is known to contribute to heart disease, high blood pressure and heightened risk for type 2 diabetes. More conditions are added to the list when obesity becomes an issue.
According to a 2007 CDC press release, 35.3 percent of U.S. women were obese, not just overweight, in 2005-2006. The CDC had only just revealed two years earlier that underweight and obese people were at a heightened risk for death. Despite the difficulties women may experience maintaining an ideal weight while aging, an effort must be made to eat right and get daily exercise to avoid the risks attached to obesity.
One thing to keep in mind is that, in the CDC’s own words, “for most people, BMI is a reliable indicator of body fatness.” Of course, there are exceptions. Some people have larger or smaller frames that don’t fit neatly into the BMI calculations. Thus, it is possible to be classified as outside of the “normal” range, but still be quite healthy. Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor if you have concerns about your weight.