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Healthy Body Calculator® FAQs




  1. I don't understand why I am not allowed to choose more than 20% of my daily calories to protein in the Healthy Body Calculator. Answer
  2. The Healthy Body Calculator says that I should be eating 3,600 calories per day to loose 1 pound per week. Can this be true? Answer
  3. I tried to use your online calculator and it would never take me to the next page? Answer
  4. When I went to view the results of the calculator, it told me that 60 pounds was within a healthy body weight range for me. What's going on? Answer
  5. I have quite a bit of muscle under all my fat, so I'm not sure where that puts me for my ideal weight range. Answer
  6. I have asked my doctor what I should weigh and get no answers. With my type of disability I don't know what exercise I can do. Answer
  7. I am 28 year female and only 3 feet 4.5 inches tall and in a wheelchair. I tried your calculator and I do not agree with what it said. Answer
  8. Your calculator said I should have 303 grams of protein per day. I know I don't eat that much now. Answer
  9. I have a problem in that I don't know what my ideal weight should be! Answer


  10. So, is there any possibility that I can copy or you send me the setup of this calculator for the benefit of our people who cannot access Internet? Answer
  11. So I want either an explanation for how it comes to the conclusion it does or to point it out so you can correct it because it was a bit scary. Answer
  12. As far as moderate work, what does that mean? Answer
  13. Your information suggests I eat 3,780 calories and 126 grams of fat. I don't think so. Answer
  14. Is the BMI current? Answer
  15. I have a little problem with your BMI thing. I am a power lifter. Answer
  16. I love the way your program works and was wondering if you could tell me the algorithms you use to do your calculations? Answer
  17. I just wanted to let you know that your website evaluation ruined my day. Answer
  18. In order to weigh the 99 to 121 pounds this calculator suggests... I would have to lose muscle, lots of muscle. Answer
  19. My wife and some of her "aerobic" friends are also interested in using the program. Unfortunately none of us have internet access or a PC. Answer


  20. I was just curious how the BMI is calculated: which specific information is utilized? Answer
  21. I am interested in obtaining software copy of your Healthy Body Calculator for my own use. Is this commercially available? Answer
  22. I was wondering if you could tell me how to calculate what my daily calorie intake should be. Answer
  23. I am not sure how to rate my exercise (light, moderate, or heavy). Answer
  24. How many calories per day are necessary for a 49 year old man who runs about 3 miles 4 or 5 times per week who wants to gain about 10 pounds? Answer
  25. A young friend of mine whom I have been trying to get to deal with her eating disorder, used your calorie calculator and was informed that she, at 5 feet 2 inches and 120 pounds was only 1 lb away from being above the health weight limit. Answer
  26. I was wondering: what algorithm do you use to determine how much of each nutrient someone should get per day? Answer
  27. I tried out your calculator two different ways knowing my body fat composition. Answer
  28. It would be nice if you had an area where bodybuilders could input their data so the results could pertain to them as well in your analysis. Answer
  29. I entered my stats and it reported that I was overweight and in an unhealthy range of BMI. I am very muscular and I have about 20% body fat. Answer


  30. I would like to know what is the calories that a 20 year old female should consume form carbohydrate, protein and fat? Answer
  31. I just went through the steps in your calculator and the information that was given to me at the end is not quite clear. Answer
  32. I just used your Healthy Body Calculator and was frustrated because I was unable to put my true goals into the calculation. Answer
  33. I have been searching for information about the number of calories that I can consume per day to maintain. Answer
  34. I don't quite understand the Healthy Body Calculator. Answer
  35. Any books on body fat measurement? Answer
  36. The BMI method your calculator uses seems to be inaccurate with tall people. Answer
  37. Do you know anyone in the Philadelphia area (in either or both specialties) whom you might personally feel willing and able to recommend? Answer
  38. I would like to use your calculator to help plan my own diet and want to express my appreciation for you providing it. Answer
  39. I just completed the calculator on your web site and everything makes sense except the daily calorie consumption of 2800. Answer


  40. Can you expand any on why you think these variances exist and the proper intake to maintain a healthy weight? Answer
  41. What is the proper weight to enter for your body calculator? Answer
  42. Do you explain how you calculate the amount of fat between waist and hip? Answer
  43. If I were to follow Your Nutrition Facts in the Healthy Body Calculator, I should lose the 2 pounds a week that I am shooting for? Answer
  44. I located your website today in order to find the formula to calculate the correct calorie intake for a certain weight. I can not find it anywhere. Answer
  45. Your Healthy Body Calculator and it recommended a weight range of 99 to 121 pounds for my height and 22% body fat goal. Answer
  46. I just used the Healthy Body Calculator and was shocked by its negative results. Answer
  47. How do you measure your elbow for determining frame size? Answer
  48. How many calories are burned off during regular 10-15 minutes sexual intercourse? Answer
  49. I need to know how many calories per day I can consume to continue to lose weight? Answer


  50. I do not apparently have the hips that are expected of me. Answer
  51. What is a healthy weight for someone with a small body frame? Answer
  52. I completed your survey about me and feel it does not accurately represent me. I am in good physical condition. Answer
  53. Your calulator tells me I am very underweight, but I don't think so. Answer
  54. What is a correct weight for a 42 year old female? Answer
  55. I am getting older, the pounds are adding up and I need to get in shape. Answer
  56. It is distressing to see that your calculator comes back with you are at an unleahty weight and you are overfat. Answer
  57. This seems to be a lot of food for someone trying to lost 2 pounds per week. Can I believe it? Answer
  58. How many calories would we use if we were bed bound or rested all day? Answer
  59. I tried my data from much younger years. I wonder why you bother to ask for age if weight difference is not calculated any differently? Answer


  60. I haven't been 165 since junior high. I'm aerobically fit and weight 195. Answer
  61. I am 192 pounds and 6 feet 2 inches tall and it recommends almost 5000 calories a day. Answer
  62. When I enter my weight, should it be clothed or not? I am a below the knee amputee and weight myself with my prothesis on. Answer
  63. I am a woman 5 feet 9 inches and weight 250. The calculator listed 3770 calories which seems high. Answer
  64. The calculator labels me as apple shaped. I have patently got a pear shape. What gives? Answer
  65. How come it says I should take in over 3400 calories a day if I want to lose weight? Answer
  66. Is the Your Nutrition Facts what I should be eating each day of the result or of what I have been eating? Answer
  67. It said I need 4040 calories per day to lose 2 pounds per week. Most diets talk about 2000 per day calorie intake. Is this correct? Answer
  68. For a person on a low fat diet 15% would be a reasonable goal. Why is this not recognized in your program? Answer
  69. I have always been fat (even as a kid). Where can I get some help? Answer


  70. I am 5 feet 8 inches, a medium build and weight 207 pounds. What should my weight be? Answer
  71. I'm about 20 pounds overweight and I just determined my calorie intake. I must say that I was surprised to see I should eat about 1900 calories / day. Answer
  72. Where it says Your Nutrition Facts, is that saying what I am eating now or something I should be doing? Answer
  73. For those who are large in frame due to weightlifting, bodybuilding, football or other sports, this seems to imply that we are grossly overweight. Answer
  74. Does it suggest that I might be in a healthy range becuase I have low body fat percent? Answer
  75. It says I'm right in the middle of the healthy weight range. Is there something wrong in the calculator? I have been always a very thin person. Answer
  76. I was wondering if this is available for downloading or I can purchase the program? Answer
  77. I almost never eat that much in a day. It's almost impossible. Answer
  78. Can you explain BMI to me? Answer
  79. Could you supply us with any infomation about what the proper weight and muscle mass that people should be to be healthy and how to get that way? Answer


  80. I just wanted to make sure I understood the nutrition fact sheet. Is that the list I should follow? Answer
  81. I entered an unacceptable protein percentage and I am only allowed to enter a number between 10% and 20%. Answer
  82. I feel I need to lose about 40 pounds though your calculator says I should only lose about 10 to 15. Why? Answer
  83. There isn't enough room it you are say 5 feet 4 1/2 inches tall or your hips are 30 1/2 inches. Answer
  84. The calculator deviates greatly from reality for those of us on the extreme ends of the size spectrum. I am 6 feet 9 inches and 285 pounds. Answer
  85. We have to find out how to test one's percent body fat. Would you supply me with this information? Answer
  86. I'm assuming the nutrition facts are based on the U.S. RDA numbers. Where can I find those numbers? Answer
  87. Could you give me a rought estimate of a daily target calorie intake? Answer
  88. I've been trying to figure out what my healthy body weight should be. Should you go by your body weight or your total body fat? Answer
  89. Could you please include a weight / height chart in your website? Answer


I don't understand why I am not allowed to choose more than 20% of my daily calories to protein in the Healthy Body Calculator. That does not make any sense that most of my calories must come from carbs and or fat. I do not think this is appropriate.

The reason there is a max on protein is that current nutrition practice does not endorse high protein intake for any reason. The Healthy Body Calculator uses algorithms used in current nutrition practice and standards established by medical research.

High protein diets stress your kidneys. While high protein diets temporarily result in weight loss, they usually don't result in long term loss. In fact, the yoyo effect of quick weight loss caused by the dehydration of high protein diets is results in re-gain once a person goes off a high protein diet.


I just completed the Healthy Body Calculator and it says that I should be eating 3,600 calories per day to loose 1 pound per week. Can this be true? I currently eat 1,400 to 1,500 calories per day and barely loose one pound per week. Should I or could I be eating more? I am 5 feet 5 inches and weight 171 pounds and I am moderately active. Please explain!

More than likely, you overestimated your activity level. Another factor is your current weight. The more a person weighs, the more calories are needed to maintain that weight. So to lose weight, you might not have to eat a really low calorie level.

I agree that 3600 calories seems high for weight loss for a person of your height. Go back and adjust your activity level. You can also reply with your stats to me so I can verify your results.


I tried to use your online calculator and it would never take me to the next page?

More than likely your ISP (Internet Service Provider) has tried to cache my pages. Since the Healthy Body Calculator is an online program, it has to run on my server. So I would suggest you click on "reload" in your browser window. If that doesn't do anything, I would suggest you contact your ISP. I just tried it and is it working fine.


I was using the body weight calculator and accidentally typed in my weight as 60 pounds. I am a 26 year old female and am 5'3" tall. When I went to view the results of the calculator, it told me that sixty pounds was within a healthy body weight range for me. What's going on?

Surely, this is not healthy and now I am skeptical about the validity of this body weight calculator. Could you please clarify this for me?

I just tried the Healthy Body Calculator using your data and the results said you were underweight at 60 pounds with a healthy body weight of 140 to 127 pounds. Please try again and if you get the same results, reply with all the data you entered.

No 60 pounds is not a healthy weight other than for a much younger small child.


I just used the Healthy Body Calculator. It was very helpful especially the breakdown of Nutrition Facts section. Unfortunately, it didn't tell me much that I already did not know about myself.

I should weigh 115 pounds, but weigh about 170 instead. I have quite a bit of muscle under all my fat, so I'm not sure where that puts me for my ideal weight range. I don't feel that I eat big meals, in fact I eat only toast and coffee for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, and a small to moderate dinner (depending on how hungry I am). I don't believe I binge or over indulge myself. Despite this, I still don't lose the weight. My weight has never yo-yoed. I have always maintained a weight for two or more years at a time. My present weight has stayed the same, even after two pregnancies, for more than 4 years now.

I tend to have a depressed attitude, even when I get to exercise or even go out into the sunshine (two methods that have been recommended for solving depression). I am not taking anti-depressant drugs, primarily due to my obesity. All these factors combine to make a constant struggle for me in my daily life and marriage. It is getting the better of me, I'm afraid. I would like to know if depression can be caused by poor diet habits. Also, can depression cause the body to store fat and slow metabolism? Can depression be prevented by diet changes? If I do decide to take an anti-depressant, how might I combat the weight-gain side effects of the drugs?

I have tried many different diets. They do not work for me simply because everything I have tried so far could not be tailored so that my hungry husband and two young children would participate, too. Financially, I can't make two different meals - one for me and one for my family at each meal time. I need something that would be friendly to them, as well. Maybe a plan that they can continue their own eating habits, while I cut back or something?

Please help!

As you gain weight, your body adds muscle and fat to provide increased organ size and muscles to nourish larger demands and provide mobility for your increased weight. It would be like changing the body of your car to a Cadillac and keeping a Volkswagen engine. The smaller engine just couldn't keep up with the larger body. So organs and muscles increase in size due to the increased demand of body weight.

There is no "ideal weight". What is ideal when talking about an infinitely variable human being? Body weight depends on a lot of factors. Don't beat yourself up over your weight. The Healthy Body Calculator is an estimate of your healthy body weight using scientific formulas and criteria you enter.

First thing I would suggest is exercise. Get moving. Exercise increases your metabolism for up to 15 hours afterwards and as you note helpful in reducing depression. Aim for 30 - 60 minutes of exercise 3 to 5 days a week. Get your kids and husband involved in your exercise routine as it provides quality time together and model for a healthy lifestyle for your children.

Why are you opposed to anti-depressants? Perhaps you should visit a psychiatrist and talk about how you feel? I am not big on pushing pills either, but you may need something to get you over the slump you are in. A psychiatrist can prescribe anti-depressants, but only after talking to you. Most anti-depressants don't cause weight gain. Lithium used in the treatment of bipolar disease (manic depression) can though.

Depression is not caused by poor diet or even anything you eat. Carbohydrates can increase the endorphins (feel good chemicals) in the brain. So perhaps you feel better after eating carbos. At this time, we don't know if certain foods can prevent depression other than the effect carbohydrates and chocolate have on increasing brain endorphins.

Depression does not cause your body to store fat or effect your metabolism. However, some people eat more when depressed and that could contribute to weight gain. Also, some people have a difficult time getting out of bed or out of the house when depressed which would reduce exercise and result in weight gain.

You are a good person who deserves a good life. Go talk to someone who can support you through this difficult time. No one expects you to do it alone and don't take on too many things at once. First deal with your depression then with your weight.

As to your diet, you should not have to make different meals for your family and yourself. You can eat anything in moderation. The obvious is to reduce fats and eliminate sweets or desserts. I would suggest you eat more at breakfast as I found in my practice, people who don't eat breakfast eat more at night. Add protein like an egg or low fat cheese to your breakfast. Also your diet is low in fruits and vegetables based on your info below. Aim for 5 fruits and vegetables each day.


Sorry if I pegged you wrong. To answer you question, I have no information from any health professionals. I have asked my doctor what I should weigh and get no answers. I realize that I am a special case and that is why I am looking for answers. I can tell you that I have Osteogensis Imperfecta (brittle bones) I also I have a barreled rib cage With my type of disability I don't know what exercise I can do.

As I mentioned I am 3 feet 4.5 inches and 86 pounds. I would like to weigh about 75 to 80 pounds. Any less and I don't think I would look to good. Any Information that you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Once again I am sorry if my first email was strong, but it is very frustrating when you are this short and want to lose weight and there is no help out there.

I understand.

Your concern about your weight should be balanced against treatment for your bone symptoms. You should discuss with doctor the impact any weight loss would have. If you gained weight, it could reduce your ability to get around. If you lost weight, it could make your bones more fragile.

First you need your doctor's approval for weight loss and then eat a bit less (1 teaspoon) than your typical serving size. Aim for 45 calories less per day which is about 1 teaspoon of margarine or 1 tablespoon salad dressing less than you usually eat. At your weight, it won't take a lot of calories to maintain your weight, maybe around 850 to 950 calories so I would not suggest any drastic reduction in calories. Your weight loss will be slow, but over time, you should experience some weight loss with no additional weight gain. Make sure you eat a variety of foods from all food groups and don't eliminate any food group. Ask your doctor about taking a vitamin and mineral supplement.

Also talk to your doctor about what exercises you can do. You may find that a little more of your activities of daily living (dressing, bathing, moving around) will support slow weight loss without increasing your risk of breaking a bone.

Since there are no standards for little people for weight by height, I can't tell if you are at the appropriate weight for height or not. You should make an appointment with a dietitian in your area who can read your medical chart and visit you in person.

Visitors: Osteogensis Imperfecta is an inherited collagen disorder that causes fragile bones and 50% experience a hearing loss. The whites of the eyes can appear bluish because the veins in the eyes are more visible. People with Osteogensis Imperfecta can easily break bones so they have to be very careful.


I am 28 year female and only 3 feet 4.5 inches tall and in a wheelchair. I tried your calculator and I do not agree with what it said. You claim that someone my height should weight 90 to 110 pounds. I am 86 pounds and you say I am underweight! Have you ever seen someone that is my height? I am overweight and if I weighed what you say I would be in worse shape then I am now. I think you need to re-think the weight. Also, if I had the calories that you say I would gain like a pig I feel like one now. 1,660 is a joke you must want us short fat people to die.

WHOA, you got me pegged wrong!

The calculator has some built in safeguards because people with anorexia use it. I don't want them to get the false impression that they can weigh less than 100 pounds no matter what their height or current weight.

Yours is a special case in 2 ways - your height and that you use a chair. I have looked for accurate data for people with spinal cord injuries and people in wheelchairs, but have not found any. Further, there are no formulas or tables to use for little people. Sorry, but the calculator won't give you the data you are looking for. I will continue to look for accurate data for little people and people with spinal cord injuries so that I can make the calculator work for more people. Do you have any information from working with various health professionals?


I did your weight calculator, entered all the information as true as I could. I do weigh 225 pounds and I'm 6 feet 5 inches tall. I can't remember, but I think I did input around 20% protein. It said I should have 303 grams of protein per day. I know that I don't eat that much now. There actually is a need for some of these protein powders out there? Thanks.

I am curious as to what data you entered? I can't reproduce your protein calculation with the data you provided even with the maximum amount of protein allowed at 35%.

Protein powders are not necessary and you can eat enough protein from foods such as meat, fish, poultry, dairy like milk and cheese as well as soybeans, whole grains and vegetables. Fruits and fats contain almost zero protein.


I've been browsing through your website and find it very interesting. I have a problem in that I don't know what my ideal weight should be! Here are details of my height and current weight. I would appreciate it if you could tell me what I should weigh. Thank you.

  • Sex: Female
  • Height: 5 feet 2 inches
  • Weight: 110 pounds
  • Age: 27 years

You are at a healthy weight for your height. Try the Healthy Body Calculator by clicking on the link on the upper left of any web page.


I live in Pakistan and I'm a worker in health services. We're working for the benefits of our community people and also other area people for better health. I really like your calculator very, very much and I also want to serve this calculator to our people. So, is there any possibility that I can copy or you send me the setup of this calculator for the benefit of our people who cannot access Internet? I hope that you will think with kind heart and send me the copy of your software. I will remain very much thankful to you.

The Healthy Body Calculator only runs on the Internet and is not a PC based program. Furthermore, my company licenses it to companies for their Intranet sites and the algorithms are proprietary.

Sorry that I cannot assist you. Thank you for your comments about the Healthy Body Calculator.


I've been looking at your site and found it really interesting. However, when I go through the Healthy Body Calculator I get some astounding results. So I want either an explanation for how it comes to the conclusion it does or to point it out so you can correct it because it was a bit scary.

I'm 158 centimeters tall and three months pregnant. I currently weight 59 kilograms which is more than I'd like, but not unhealthy or even overweight by any weight for height tables I've ever seen. I work in health myself. I'm 28.

Before I got pregnant, I estimate that my weight was somewhere between 55 and 57 kilograms. I suspect the latter simply because after putting on that much weight my clothes haven't become tight or anything like that, so it can't be that drastic.

I walk every day. I've never, ever in my life had anyone comment that I'm overweight (doctors included). In fact, I have been queried in quite the opposite direction. I am not particularly "big boned" and would perhaps be described on the more muscular side, but not particularly so.

When I use your calculator, it tells me that I am overweight - which surprises me. But when I insert the details of my pregnancy, it actually tells me that my pre-pregnancy weight range should be between 35 and 39 kilograms. I find this quite astounding and completely unfeasible and unhealthy. I'm sure the only people I've every heard of at that weight must have eating disorders or are children.

It tells me that my post pregnancy weight, one month after delivery should be 50 kilograms, which is okay I suppose, but maybe a little on the light side. I've been there before. It wasn't the greatest look and a little ambitious. Can you give me some further detail about my diagnosis? It really worries me particularly as I'm not sure about the effect it might have on others. Isn't 35 - 39 kilos really a bit extreme? Thanks for your time.

I'm really curious about whether I've made some kind of mistake which would be easy to fix. It seems to work for a girlfriend on mine, but she's not pregnant, and it seems to work okay for me when I don't put in that I'm pregnant.

You are right that 35 to 39 kilos would be way too low for someone of your height and the calculator is designed to prevent that as well as weight loss during pregnancy. Your post pregnancy weight should be around 52.3 kilos.




I have a question regarding the Healthy Body Calculator. As far as moderate work, what does that mean? If I ride a stationary bike 18 miles per hour (MPH) for 2 hours is that considered moderate or light? Or does it depend on my heart rate? Please respond soon. Thank you.

Moderate is average walking speed or average biking speed. Your heart rate should be in the aerobic range. A simple test is you should have enough oxygen to carry on a conversation without running out of breath.


I just put my data into your program on your site. I was told that I was overweight and should shoot for a lower body weight. which I am working towards. But here's the kicker. Your information suggests I eat 3,780 calories and 126 grams of fat. I don't think so. I just wanted to make you aware of the problem.

Depending on your height and weight as well as the activity hours you entered into the calculator, this may be accurate. Perhaps you overestimated your activity?

Not all persons need a 1200 calorie diet. Research has found that quick weight loss diets of > 2 pounds per week are quickly regained.

The amount of fat grams would depend on the nutritional goal you selected for the percent calories from fat.

Try the calculator again and re-think your activities and fat percent goal. The calculator is designed with formulas used in current nutrition research and practice to ensure accuracy, but is dependent on user entered data to compute.




Is the BMI current? I believe I read that BMI, to be healthy, should be 25%. Is this correct or is your info based on the out of date health data? Thanks, an excellent tool.

The international standard is 25. The U.S. was discussing lowering the cutoff points for obese from 30 down to 25 or 27, but didn't. So based on what is current accepted nutrition practice in the US, yes the BMI part of the Healthy Body Calculator is correct.


I have a little problem with your BMI thing. I want to keep my body weight at 250 to 260 pounds at a height of 5 feet 11 inches. Your BMI thing said I should be about 185. I would have to cut off a limb to do that since I am a power lifter and plan to keep competing in the 242 pound class or the 275 pound class.

All I really want from your BMI thing is two little things. First, higher protein level (I don't care what the experts say 1 gram of protein to 1 pound of body weight keeps my body happy during heavy training.) Second I want to drop my body fat content to 14% my last fat test (The electric one) was 24% I do not believe it and plan to due the water test. If your BMI thing cannot due these two little things, it is useless to most of the power lifting world. Who cares about bodybuilding!

In fact my Healthy Body Calculator does consider body builders since I have worked with more than a few, but you need to know your current body fat percent. If you are 24%, then you will still get a healthy weight range of 155 - 189 pounds and a high BMI calculation because 24% is too high for a person 5 feet 11 inches weighing 250 - 260 pounds.. Would highly recommend you get tested from someone who is adequately trained and very experienced in body fat testing. Try an exercise physiologist or sports dietitian. There are many flaws to the electrical impedance method, especially dehydration. Read my sports nutrition topic for more info about body fat testing.

BMI is an estimate of body fat and only correlates for average persons, not lean athletes. As long as you continue training and maintain a body fat under the normal range for males, then BMI will not provide you with meaningful results. The problem comes when a body builder or other strength trained athlete like football players, stop training and lose muscle while gaining fat without losing weight. That would be unhealthy and BMI would then be meaningful to an out of training athlete.

With regards to the protein you want in your diet, the calculator can handle that too. One gram of protein per kilogram of body weight (2.2 lbs) is not unreasonable. One gram of protein per pound of body weight may be unless you are eating at least 5000 calories. Do you eat that much? If yes, then 250 grams of protein would be within reason. The current research on strength trained athletes is that at most they need 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of body weight. At that highest level, the most protein you would need is 170 grams of protein.


I love your web site! I am in college and I need to design a computer program for a project I am doing. I love the way your program works and was wondering if you could tell me the algorithms you use to do your calculations. I am specifically interested in the Nutritional Facts that you calculate given the age, weight, height and sex of an individual. Anything you would be willing to give me would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Thanks for your feedback, but sorry my algorithms are proprietary. If you were a dietitian, you could use the algorithms familiar to you. Whether or not they worked in practice wouldn't be important for your college project.


I just wanted to let you know that your website evaluation ruined my day. I've been exercising, eating right for 5 months now and lost 20 pounds and at least 5 inches from my waist. I'm starting to look real good now. Your evaluation rated me: You are overweight. Do you know what that's like, to come this far, and still be told you're overweight by a silly computer?

Fact is, it was 1 pound over. 1 pound. Isn't there a way it could say, you are slightly overweight or moderately overweight?

It really ticked me off. I bust ass and I get the same stuff. I'm sorry if this offended you and maybe you have no control over what is says, but I look and feel better than 75% of the rest of Americans. I can run over 3 miles straight without stopping (at 6 miles per hour). I eat healthy and low fat. I did not deserve to be told "You are overweight" by your evaluation. Thank you for your attention

Congratulations on your weight loss and exercise program. Sorry, but computers are literal with their math calculations. I am not offended by your comments and I designed the program so I do control what it says.

One pound equals 1/8 gallon of water or approximately 16 ounces of water. Depending on when you weigh yourself and your fluid status, one pound is nothing. It is not unusual for the human body to vary 3 - 4 pounds within a day. So congratulate yourself on your progress and don't sweat your weight that much.

If you feel good and look good and exercise, then perhaps your body fat is lower than average and more muscle. Have you ever had your body fat tested? If so, the Healthy Body Calculator will take that measure into consideration when calculating results.


This is, beyond a doubt, the worst calculator I have ever seen. Having had a body composition analysis done, I know my current lean mass weighs 114 pounds. In order to weigh the 99 to 121 pounds this calculator suggests...I would have to lose muscle, lots of muscle.

Since you had a body composition analysis done, you should know your percent body fat. The Healthy Body Calculator is designed for average body fat people, not lean people. If you are lean, I would recommend you include your percent body fat next time you try my calculator. BTW, the Healthy Body Calculator is based on current nutrition science and practice.

If you would like to read additional information about the validity of body composition analysis methods like electrical impedance, skin fold calipers and underwater weighing, read the sports nutrition topic and search for electrical impedance.


I have been using your dietician calculator to print results for myself, however my wife and some of her "aerobic" friends are also interested in using the program. Unfortunately none of us have internet access or a PC. I managed to use it through work. Therefore, would it be possible for you to let me know the data sources for the algorithms that you use for the results?

I could then program them into my Psion (the only programmable computer I own) or simply calculate them by hand. I realize that the algorithms are copyrighted and will understand if you cannot supply me with this information.

Thanks in advance for any information you can supply. I will not use these algorithms for any commercial gain, they will only be for personal use.

You're right, the algorithms are proprietary and I do not release them. Furthermore the program is designed to run on the internet as a script, not on a hand held or PC computer, but understand you could probably do the programming on hand held. I am interested in Psion handhelds and have looked at their website though they are more popular in Europe.


Thanks for this "Calculator". It's a lot easier to use than most of the information going around. I was just curious how the BMI is calculated: which specific information is utilized?

Thanks for your comments.

BMI is an estimate of health risk to chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, diabetes and stroke because overweight causes an increased risk . It is based on some assumptions about the human body, but is only uses height and weight.


Your web page is the most fascinating I have ever come across. I am interested in obtaining software copy of your Healthy Body Calculator for my own use. Is this commercially available?

I would appreciate your response. Thank you

The Healthy Body Calculator is a program that runs on the Internet not your local PC. You are welcome to use the Healthy Body Calculator as often as you wish, but I do not store your data.

Thanks for your comments.


I was wondering if you could tell me how to calculate what my daily calorie intake should be. My weight is 130 pounds, 5 feet 9 inches, 22 years old. Please let me know. Thank you much.

Check it out yourself on my Healthy Body Calculator. Click on the calculator link at the top left. You can also include your health goals like weight change or how much fat you want included in your calories.


I am not sure how to rate my exercise (light, moderate, or heavy). Would it be possible to list the range of calories burned for light, moderate, or heavy exercise in an hour?

This would help me determine my activity level as many of the exercise machines in my gym give me this information. I exercise on a stationary bike for 24 minutes on level 7 of 12 and it reports to me I burned 220 calories. I then do stretching for 15 minutes and lift weights for 21 minutes. I rated that as one hour of moderate exercise. Does that sound correct? Or would this be closer to light exercise?

At 36 years, 5 feet 5 inch, female, 176 pounds, 7 hours sleep, 1 hour moderate exercise and the rest very light/sedentary. I have a goal of losing 2 pounds per week the results seemed reasonable at 1,530 calories a day.

I have questioned several exercise machine companies (Nautilus, Universal and Nordic Trak) on how they determine calories burned per hour per pound that they report on their visual display and they are unable to provide any information on how they calculate this.

Calories burned per hour of exercise is dependent on the person's level of fitness, muscle mass as well as body weight and length of time. While exercise machines can record your body weight and time, they cannot assess your level of fitness or percent body fat.

So rather than using the calories burned per hour as an estimate, use the text descriptors to determine your activity level. Biking would be moderate activity for 1/3 hour, stretching would be light and lifting weights moderate for 1/3 hour times how many days per week you exercise at this intensity for this length of time.

Using the estimate of 1,530 calories per day to lose 2 pounds per week, follow this level for a couple of weeks and record your daily food intake and weight once a week. If you have not lost the predicted amount of weight, then re-do the calculator with a more conservative activity estimate.


How many calories per day are necessary for a 49 year old man who runs about 3 miles 4 or 5 times per week, but is otherwise fairly sedentary, is 6 feet tall and weighs 141 pounds who wants to gain about 10 pounds?

Please check out my Health Body Calculator and find out for yourself. If you put in your age, gender, height, weight and weight goal to gain 1 or 2 pounds per week, the calculator will provide Your Nutrition Facts with calories you need to gain weight. Come back often as your weight or health goals change.


Perhaps you don't realize how detrimental your calorie calculator is to certain people. For instance, a young friend of mine whom I have been trying to get to deal with her eating disorder, used your calorie calculator and was informed that she, at 5 feet 2 inches and 120 pounds was only 1 lb away from being above the health weight limit. The limit was between 99 lbs and 121. This young lady is extremely thin, yet gets validation for further weight lose due to your calculator.

I personally have been 99 pounds (5' 3") and know for a fact that it is very unhealthy to be that thin. My own health has improved vastly since I have kept my weight between 108 and 115 pounds. I strongly urge you to revise this calculator so other individuals with eating disorders do not use it to further validate their destructive habits.

I appreciate your concern for your friend's weight, considering her eating disorder. But, she is at a healthy weight for her height if you are sure she actually weighs 120 pounds and is 5 feet 2 inches. You are 1" taller than she and therefore can weigh more.

Actually, if a person weighs within their healthy body weight range, they should have a reduced risk for the major causes of illness in the U.S. (heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes). If a person's weight falls below the lower range of healthy, then I would agree with you that their immune system would be negatively affected. People who live to be 100+ years of age are usually at the lower end of a healthy weight for their height.

Who has assessed your friend's eating behaviors to determine that she has an eating disorder? Does she have a distorted body image or has she had wide fluctuations in her weight (+ or - 10 pounds within a couple of weeks)? Does she binge on a large amount of food then force herself to vomit? Perhaps, your friend needs to deal with her unhealthy eating behaviors which have not yet impacted her weight. Or is this your perspective given your past history with eating disorders?


I am a programmer who is writing some nutrition-related software. I was wondering: what algorithm do you use to determine how much of each nutrient someone should get per day? Could getting more of some nutrients than recommended be healthier? Could it be less healthy?

Just out of curiosity, what language is your HBC written in?

The algorithms I use in the Healthy Body Calculator are proprietary, but the program is available for license on intranets or other websites if you are interested. My calculator is written in PHP.

Nutrition is not an exact science and a lot of nutrition is subjective which doesn't blend well with computer logic - lots of variables among people. Yes, some nutrients in excess to a point could be healthier, but could also be toxic. Canada has similar nutritional guidelines like the U.S.

I have been designing nutrition software since 1989 and I would highly recommend you work with a registered dietitian so you use valid algorithms. Would also recommend you work with a dietitian who is technologically savvy.


I tried out your calculator two different ways knowing my body fat composition (I was measured on a body fat scale at my gym). On the first trial I entered data using my body fat percentage, which had been measured to be 6%. I weigh 87 pounds and the calculator told me this weight was within healthy range for me. Considering the fact that I am 5 feet 3 inches tall, I know many doctors and nurses who have very recently told me I need to gain weight. (By the way, I am a recovered anorexic and I think your calculator could give people like myself the wrong idea!!!) I entered the data on a second trial without entering my body fat percentage and it said I am underweight. Well, which is it? You tell me!

You are correct and this bug had been fixed.

Glad you are hearing your doctors and nurses. You are underweight. Your healthy body weight, irrelative of body fat, is 103 - 127. Bare minimum, you should weigh 103 pounds.

With regards to a body fat scale reading, depending on your hydration and whether or not you are menstruating, 6% may or may not be accurate. Please read info in sports nutrition topic regarding measuring body fat and inherent errors of various testing methods.


It would be nice if you had an area where bodybuilders could input their data so the results could pertain to them as well in your analysis.

The Healthy Body Calculator was designed for athletes including body builders. What additional data to you want to input?

If you know your body fat, you can add that data and HBC will adjust your BMI and healthy weight results so it won't tell you that you are overweight. The body fat fields are designed for people with lower than average body fat.


I entered my stats and it reported that I was overweight and in an unhealthy range of BMI. If you were to see me, I am very muscular and I have about 20% body fat. I did not mean to insult your methods. I just thought that if an amateur was to see the results I had, they may be offended or discouraged.

You are on the lower end or the normal range for adult women in terms of body fat percentage. Send me your stats - age, ht, wt, etc and I will take a look.

Have you had your body fat measured recently or is 20% a best guess? That will make a difference in your report.


I would like to know what is the calories that a 20 year old female should consume form carbohydrate, protein and fat?

Try the Healthy Body Calculator® and see for yourself. Click on the calculator link in the upper left column. Fill in your data, including your nutrition goals and on page 2 of the calculator will be the amount of calories, carbohydrate, protein and fat a 20 yr old female needs


I just went through the steps in your calculator and the information that was given to me at the end is not quite clear. I asked for information in order to lose weight and the amount of calories it says I can consume concerns me. To me, 2,700 calories seems too high to lose weight. Is this the most calories that I should eat in a day in order to maintain my weight or is it the amount that I need to lose weight?

I am a very active person, in pretty good shape. I exercise about five times per week, for about 2 hours a day. I do weight training and aerobics, but I need some good nutritional advice.

Thank you for your time and I hope to hear from you soon. I really want to get started eating the correct way as soon as possible.

You didn't include your height, weight or age so I can't specifically comment on whether or not 2700 calories is appropriate for you or not. The only subjective information that you put into the Healthy Body Calculator is your activity hours the rest of your physical data can be measured (age, height, weight, elbow, waist, hips). Do you think you acurately estimated your activity?

The amount of calories in Your Nutrition Facts is the amount of calories you need based on your current physical data and your choice of nutritional goals (lose, gain or maintain). So if you chose to lose 2 pounds per week, Your Nutrition Facts calorie level includes a weight loss goal. If you had chosen to maintain your weight, then your calorie level would have been 3700 calories per day.

What activity do you do for 2 hours a day as that seems a bit excessive unless you are training for a competitive sport? If you do weight training and aerobics, do you think that perhaps you have a lower bodyfat? Have you ever had your bodyfat measured?

The BMI calculation is an estimate of bodyfat and is based on some assumptions that are not true for people who are lean. Perhaps you don't need to lose weight, but only bodyfat.

Write back with your physical data.


I just used your Healthy Body Calculator and was frustrated because I was unable to put my true goals into the calculation. I recently found out I am hypoglycemic and have been told I must eat low carbohydrates and high protein for my health. How can I work that into the calculation and please any assistance you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

I'm looking for a dietitian in my area that will work with my insurance plan (PPO). I live in Dearborn Michigan. I've recently found your website and read up on hypoglycemia, but I still have many questions left unanswered. Thank you in advance for your assistance.

I'm sorry. There is a healthy range for protein and carbohydrate in my Healthy Body Calculator. Unfortunately, some fad diets also follow high protein, low carbohydrate (may also limit calories) eating plans which are not healthy over a period of time and I don't want to support those types of diets. Your need is different.

If you are experiencing symptoms, then you first need to get your hypoglycemia under control. You may need to limit your carbs to close to 100 grams per day and eat 6 small meals per day. However, once you stabilize, you will be able to liberalize your diet to include more carbohydrates. Come back after you are not having symptoms and try the Healthy Body Calculator again.

If you want to find a dietitian in your area, go to the American Dietetic Association at http://www.eatright.org and click on the "Find a Dietitian" graphic. All you have to do is put in your area code or zip code to find a dietitian near you that works with hypoglycemia. If you can't find a dietitian to work with, please write back.


I have been searching for information about the number of calories that I can consume per day to maintain. When I went through your calculator, it told me that I could eat about 2,040 calories a day (with a weight of 140 pounds - age 33 - and 8 hours of sleep with the rest of the hours being very light/sedentary). I have a very hard time believing that this is accurate. That would be using a multiplier of about 14.57 X pounds of weight. This seems like it would be the multiplier of a very active person. I am pretty sure that I would gain weight using this formula. Do you have some further insight on this for me?

The only subjective data you enter into my calculator is activity hours. The Healthy Body Calculator is based on current nutrition practice for assessing people's weight and calorie needs. Actually, it is very accurate, but I don't use a single multiplier. There are formulas that use a single multiplier for quick field estimates of calorie needs that range from 12 - 15+ calories per pound of body weight for healthy individuals.

Unfortunately, most people underestimate how much they eat as they don't keep food and drink records which should be analyzed for calories and nutrients. Another important factor is the amount and intensity of exercise & fitness you get each day, but since you are sedentary, this wouldn't be a factor. Better get moving as people who burn more through exercise, can eat more calories.


I don't quite understand the Healthy Body Calculator.

I'm 5.5 feet and weight 99 pounds. My doctor says that's under weight. The calculator says it's fine. My activity is 8 hours sleep, 8 hours very light / Sedentary and 1 hours moderate. My fat percentage is 12% and my waist is 23 inches and hip 33 inches.

I want to maintain my weight. Now, your calculator says that I should be eating 2,430 calories a day, could that be correct? That seems a lot for someone my weight that wants to maintain. Can you please answer this ASAP. I'm currently recovering from anorexia . I use to weigh a lot less. I'm on a normal aerobic and weight training schedule and want to make sure I'm not eating too much to ruin my goal of being lean, healthy and muscular. Thank you.

You are underweight and this is an issue that I fixed. People with lower than healthy body weights also have lower than normal body fat. Don't put in your % body fat as that is throwing your results off. Enter your data again without including your percent body fat.

Rather than setting a goal of maintaining your weight, you still need to gain some healthy weight. Your healthy weight is 113 - 138 pounds. Underweight can negatively affect your immune system as well as other body systems, so I would recommend weight gain to at least 113 pounds.

As to the calories, I ran your data through and guessed you were 24 yr old female. The result I got with your data below said 1700 calories in Your Nutrition Facts. You may have entered different data, but I suspect that you included more activity hours than you list below or weight gain of 1 to 2 pounds per week which would have increased the calorie report to over 2400 per day. So it depends on what data you entered whether or not the calories are correct. Though the only subjective data you enter is your activity hours and everything else can be measured so please be accurate when estimating activity hours.

The calories recommended in Your Nutrition Facts are a good basis for planning a healthy eating plan. If you need help with this, go see a registered dietitian who can help support and guide you to your goal of being lean, healthy and muscular. Don't focus on counting calories as that is an anorexic behavior. Focus instead on eating a healthy meal plan every day.

You can gain more muscle weight without adding much fat by continuing your aerobic and weight training program. 12% is low for a woman and your menstrual cycle may not return until your body fat increases to around 18%. While this may seem a blessing, it is not good for your bone strength and long term health.


Actually I used to be athletic (basketball - what else) and I worked out 5 times weekly, but this habit was interrupted for about 4 years. After gaining some weight I started dieting. Since 3 months I have been working out 5 times weekly again to stabilize my achieved weight. Since the renewed workouts I have noticed that my muscles have become more pronounced and dense, so now I am on the search for an alternate method to weight control to document my progress. I was thinking about building a small PC controlled body resistance measurement system (I'm an electrical engineering grad student) to measure the body fat percentage, but I was unable to find any documentation about this or any other similar method. Do you have any idea where I could look for stuff like that?

Any books on body fat measurement? Back to the BMI - as you say the BMI is an estimate of health risk. Estimates are based on assumptions - and 6 foot 7 inches guys screw up most assumptions. Just think about a tall guy with long thin legs and a tall guy with short legs, but a tall upper body - a relative shift of the leg to body ratio has a far larger impact with tall people than with short folks.

So you are exercising. If you notice more pronounced muscles, then perhaps your actual body fat percentage is less than a calculated BMI estimate. If you belong to a health club or know someone in the Physical Education department at your local university, ask if there is an exercise physiologist or registered dietitian that can measure your body fat.

There are several electrical impedance body fat analyzers on the market. The problem with them is there are many variables that affect the reading.

The Journal of the American Dietetic Association and probably the American College of Sports Medicine have advertising from companies that make these devices. They are not cheap. For reading, I would suggest an exercise physiology book by Frank & Vic Katch, 2 nationally known experts in this field for a description of methods to assess body fat.

Basically one places an electrode on the dominant hand and foot. A small electrical charge passes through the body. Muscle is 70% water and fat is 15%. Therefore if you have more muscle, the charge moves faster. Problem is hydration, alcohol, menstruation all affect the results. The inherent errors are higher than a trained individual using calipers. Likewise because a body fat measurement is a snapshot in time of your muscle mass, it will change daily, but not so much that the measurement discernible changes. It would only be wise to re-test every 3 - 6 months for change as a result of a regular exercise program.

Read my sports nutrition topic for other body fat assessments like hydrostatic weighting (underwater).

You are very lucky to be so tall. You burn more calories because you have a greater surface area than a shorter person. If you just follow the recommendations for a healthy lifestyle i.e. eat a low fat (< 30% fat) diet based on the My Plate Food Guide and exercise 30 minutes 5 times per week, you should be able to keep your weight and BMI in a healthy range.

You are also fortunate in that males because of testosterone have a higher proportion of muscle to fat which is even more pronounced in African American males. This positive effect of testosterone on muscle mass should continue till you reach 70 when testosterone levels fall off.

Like I said, BMI is an estimate based on a mathematical equation and I am checking on the extremes of height's affect on BMI. I don't think height has anything to do with screwing up assumptions. Your point about long legs, short legs is accurate. However, fat is distributed all over the body from the ankles to the neck, except in the brain (though some people are an exception to this rule). Hope you laughed.


I stumbled across your web page and really liked it. Only the calculator bugs me. I'm 25 years old, 203 centimeters (~ 6 feet 7 inches) tall, of medium bone structure (elbow of 3 1/4 inches ) and weigh 227 pounds. The BMI method your calculator uses seems to be inaccurate with tall people. I am certainly not over fat (as my BMI value proclaims) and the same time not overtly muscular or athletic. I guess that I should stick to a body fat percentage analysis. That's my question - are there any "do-it-yourself" kits available (like calipers plus reference manual)? And who would sell it (mail order)?

BMI is not a calculated estimate of your body fat; it is a estimate of health risk. If you were very athletic and did weight training / aerobic exercise daily, then perhaps you should have your body fat analyzed. However, you state that you aren't athletic and you will probably fall into the norms for your age.

Your BMI is 26 and your healthy weight range is 198 - 242 pounds. Your current weight of 227 is in the middle of this and close to ideal at 220. BMI's are age related and people as young as you should have a BMI less than 25. BMI's don't relate as well for very tall people as you suggest, but I use a formula currently used in nutrition practice. (I assumed you are a male and if not, please write back.)

Would not suggest doing body fat analysis yourself as some of the sites on your body to measure are out of your reach. Also, it takes training and lots of practice to get good at acurately measuring body fat with a calipher. Good caliphers happen to be very expensive. Besides, you don't need to measure body fat that often and every 3 - 6 months would be sufficient. If you are interested, ask a registered dietitian or exercise physiologist to measure your body fat.


I must express my thanks for the time you took to provide a very complete, unusually sophisticated and extremely helpful answer to my e-mail of 1/26. Do you know anyone in the Philadelphia area (in either or both specialties) whom you might personally feel willing and able to recommend?

In any event, once again, thanks!

Have you considered referring yourself to a registered dietitian for weight counseling / meal planning and an exercise physiologist for exercise / strength training?

You're welcome. Weight change (+ or -) is actually rather complicated and unfortunately unless well planned often leads to failure. So I would recommend a 1 month weight goal, a calorie goal to achieve 1 - 2 pound weight loss per week, meal plan for an eating guide, exercise program to increase aerobic endurance and build muscle and lastly keep food and exercise records to document your progress. Keep coming back to the Healthy Body Calculator for a calorie assessment as your weight changes. Hey, you were active once, you can do it again. Besides, you have your gender on your side. It is not as easy for women you age to turn their weight and fitness around!

You can go to the American Dietetic Association's web site at http://www.eatright.org and click on the Find a Dietitian graphic. You should be able to find a dietitian in your area that can read your medical chart, talk to you face to face and design a meal plan that includes your food preferences. If you don't find someone at ADA's web site, call a clinic or hospital near you and ask to talk to a dietitian. They know who would be the best to address your needs. I don't know anyone in Philadelphia area in clinical or private practice. I mostly know techies. I don't work with individuals long term by email at this time due to contracts I currently have with my company's clients. What you need is a nutrition guide since you can monitor yourself.

Don't know an exercise physiologist either, but you can search American College of Sports Medicine at http://www.a1.com/sportsmed/ Their phone is on their web site and perhaps they can direct you or look up exercise physiologist in your yellow pages. Stick with a educated and trained professional so you don't injure yourself or your knees. Don't know if a certified fitness trainer or physical therapist would be as appropriate to design an aerobic / strength training program, but they would be other possibilities. With your medical training, you should be able to evaluate their credentials.

Best wishes and thanks for the feedback.


I am a physician (board certified in anesthesiology and in psychiatry) and well versed, as an avocation, in the nutritional literature. I would like to use your calculator to help plan my own diet and want to express my appreciation for you providing it.

However before I use this calculator for clinical purposes, including my own diet / exercise prescription, I would be grateful if you could answer the following questions::

1 What formulae does your calculator employ to estimate the effect of (a) age, (b) sex and (c) body weight on caloric needs?

2 What are the sources in the medical and/or nutritional literature on which these formulae are based?

3 Where and where did you obtain your personal training in nutrition?

I also have a specific personal question. I am 6 foot, 305 pounds, age 60 and now relatively sedentary (although about 15 years ago, prior to developing severe osteoarthritis in both knees). I ran the New York marathon in 3 hour 45 minutes. Unfortunately, it is my educated guess that approximately 150 of my current pounds represent fat. (I will assume that at 180 pounds, my body weight would be about 14% fat and that at present about 50% of my body weight is fat.)

At 305 pound, 8 hours sleep and 16 hours sedentary, your calculator gives a weight-maintenance caloric estimate of 3630 calories / 24 hour (i.e. I would need an intake of 2,130 to lose 3 pounds per week). At 180 pounds (my target weight), 8 hours sleep and 16 hours sedentary, your calculator estimates a 2,480 calories / 24 hous requirement (absent additional exercise).

Your calculator's 2,480 estimate at 180 pounds appears relatively consistent with both standard nomograms and with my prior experience. However based on my empirical estimate that about 1/3 of fat tissue is metabolically active, as well as on personal experience, I estimate my actual maintenance requirement at 305 pounds to be only about 3,055 calories (about 575 calories / 24 hours below your calculator's estimate). If I (rather than the calculator) am correct, a 2,130 intake (exclusive of aerobic exercise) would initially produce somewhat less than a two pound fat loss per week, with my loss progressively decreasing to almost zero (absent exercise) as I (hopefully) approach my 180 pound target.

My present plan is initially for a 2,130 calorie / day intake (heavy on fruits and vegetables and well below 30% fat) and a walking program initially of approximately 2 miles (in 40 minutes) per day, alternating daily with use of a bicycle ergometer at 75 watts for 40 minutes per day. In about a month I also plan to add a modest strength training program.

I would be very grateful for any help, comments or advice you may be willing to provide with regard to this (hopefully not overoptimistic) plan and/or with regard to the general and specific questions posed above. Many thanks.

You're welcome.

Boy is that a combination of specialties. I applaud your interest in nutrition.

My calculator's formulas are proprietary, but suffice to say they follow current nutrition science and practice. You could probably get a similar result if you had a registered dietitian do the math for you or if you had a reliable nutritional assessment software program. Unfortunately, most nutrition software programs do not utilize a dietitian for design and many greatly over or underestimate caloric needs or exercise expenditure. There are numerous formulas out there for estimating caloric needs and I employ the most reliable according to research. Since my formulas are proprietary, I'm sorry, I cannot reveal what they are nor where in the literature you could find the basis for these formulas. BTW, I have been designing nutrition software since 1989. I have spent a great deal of time researching formulas in the literature, making these formulas work realistically in a computer environment and trying them out on real people.

I have a bachelors in dietetics with a minor in chemistry from Univ of N Colorado in Greeley and a masters in nutrition with a minor in counseling and guidance from North Dakota State University in Fargo. I am a registered dietitian with the American Dietetic Association and licensed dietitian in the state of Minnesota. Many states require licensure of any person providing dietetic or nutrition services and usually states provide reciprocity. I have worked as a clinical dietitian for over 26 years. You can read further about my work experience in my bio at http://www.dietitian.com/bio.html or clicking on my name in the Ask the Dietitian banner on my home page.

BMI is an estimate of percent body fat. You are not 50% fat! I am testing a new calculator that will display a person's BMI result and yours is 41.

Your healthy body weight range is 160 to 196 pounds and a healthy BMI is less than 30. Would recommend a realistic weight goal that you could achieve in 1 month otherwise, focusing on a long term goal may be too far in the future. Why not start out with a 10 pound weight loss one month from today?

Research has shown that weight loss to an "ideal body weight" is no longer necessary. Some of the health risks associated with weight gain can be reduced with a mere 10 - 15% weight loss. So at 305, your health risks would be reduced by losing 30 - 45 pounds, not down to 180 pounds.

Wrong assumption about the relationship between body weight and body fat. At 305, you could be a linebacker for the Green Bay Packers and be 9% body fat. You could still be 41% body fat at 180 pounds if all you lost was muscle during weight loss, especially if you lost weight very quickly on a very low calorie diet (semi-starvation ketosis diet). How you exercise during weight loss and how fast you lose weight determines the composition of the weight you lose. Most people lose some fat and some muscle with weight loss. If you want to preserve your current muscle mass and lose more fat, you need to follow a very gradual 1 - 2 pound per week weight loss and participate in aerobic and weight lifting exercises daily.

If my calculator gave you an estimate of 3630 to maintain your weight at 305 then it would recommend 2630 (not 2480) to lose 2 pounds per week. It does not allow a 3 pound per week weight loss because research has shown that weight loss greater than 1 - 2 pounds per week is quickly regained once a quick weight loss diet is ended.

Calorie needs are dependent on body weight as one factor. As you lose weight, your calorie requirements to maintain your weight at a lower weight will be less. Therefore you should come back and re-enter your lower weight into the calculator with about every 5 - 10 pound weight loss to get a new calorie level that will support continued weight loss. Otherwise, you will plateau periodically in your weight loss efforts. This is my perspective of long term weight loss, but one calorie level will not continue to achieve weight loss at 305 pounds and 250 pounds or 180 pounds simply because fewer calories are needed to support 250 pounds than 305 pounds. Go back and see what your calorie recommendation is at 300 and 295 pounds respectively to see what I mean. You will only see a 50 calorie difference between weighing 305 and 300 pounds. So, 1 pat of butter (45 calories) extra a day can make the difference over time between weight loss and weight maintenance. Surprised?

If you have become less physically active, why not try water sports as they don't put pressure on knees and other weight bearing joints? You certainly could walk around a pool or do you swim? You were a very active person if you ran the NY marathon. What changed your exercise habits? Only osteoarthritis?

Actually, body fat (white fat) is pretty inert and just sits there as a repository for stored energy (calories) compared to metabolically active (read burns calories) muscle tissue. Brown fat located in a person's chest is metabolically active in producing heat, but does not proportionately comprise 1/3 of all body fat. The amount of brown fat differs from person to person and is often higher in persons who seem to eat and never gain weight. Sorry, there isn't anything you can do to increase brown fat and decrease white fat. On the other hand, muscle tissue as you know comprises both organs and muscles that perform work.

Your calorie level at 2130 sounds a bit aggressive for long term success and your exercise plan may stress osteoarthritic knees which aren't going away just because of weight loss. Also, you forgot to factor your exercise program into your calorie calculations. Remember that any exercise you start will add to your calorie deficit and increase the speed of weight loss, However, since muscle weights more than fat, you may see a slower weight loss after initiating an exercise program (especially strength training that adds muscle), so don't get discouraged if you don't lose weight as quickly as you anticipate.

Remember to consult with your private physician before starting an exercise program. Hope you chuckled, but at your weight and age, it would be a very good idea to have complete physical if you haven't' had one in a while.

Lastly, remember that eating is not an exact science and weight loss is not a linear equation. To achieve your daily calorie goal, you will need to write down everything you eat and keep track of calories. You can do that either with a good nutrition software package or the Diabetic Exchanges. Also, what meal plan had you thought of following other than fruits and vegetables with < 30% fat? Considering the time you have spent planning your energy needs, you should have a meal plan for guidance. Being a physician, I'm sure you frequently refer your patients to other specialties. Have you considered referring yourself to a registered dietitian for weight counseling / meal planning and an exercise physiologist for exercise / strength training?


I just completed the calculator on your web site and everything makes sense except the daily calorie consumption of 2800. Other references I've checked indicate I should be 1600-1800 calories / day. This is obviously a very important difference and I would appreciate your comments. Thank you for you prompt attention to this inquiry.

1600 - 1800 calories seems low for a male, but it would depend on your height. The data you entered was 56 y.o. male 5'8", 164 pounds, 7 hours of sleep, 10 hours very light and 7 hours light activity. Your healthy body weight range is: 139 to 169 pounds and you are within your healthy body weight.

Your calorie needs are determined by how many calories it takes to run your body (BMR = Basal Metabolic Rate) plus the calories you expend doing activities including structured exercise programs. My calculator is designed using formulas used in current nutrition practice and the only subjective data you enter is your activity hours. Do you think you over estimated how much activity you get?

Go back and re-enter your data, but this time leave your activity hours blank. Check the calories in Your Nutrition Facts. This amount is your BMR. Now click on your browser back button and add your activity hours. What is the difference between your BMR and BMR + activities?

The calorie amount in Your Nutrition Facts is a guide for how much to eat to maintain your weight or change your weight depending on the nutrition goal (lose or gain) that you entered on page 2 of my calculator.

Bottom line is if you eat more calories than you need, you gain weight and if you eat fewer calories, you lose weight. If you eat the right amount, you will maintain. I would recommend you ignore minor fluctuations in your weight (+ or - 3 pounds) which could reflect shifts in the amount of body water you have on board.


Thanks for the information. My concern, especially at this time of year is that I'm wearing many layers or heavy sweaters and jeans and this can cause the scale to climb. Being only 5 feet 2 inches, 5 or more pounds of clothing can look scary on the scale. I've also seen many different total calorie intake for a person my size. Anywhere from 1,500 to 2,100+ calories. Can you expand any on why you think these variances exist and the proper intake to maintain a healthy weight? Thanks.

When weighing yourself, take off shoes, sweaters, coats and start with light indoor clothing or as I suggested before, just underwear.

Eating is not an exact science and the knowledge we have regarding how the body uses calories or nutrients is not complete by any means. Depending on the formula one uses to calculate calorie requirements and the method of including physical activity, including exercise, varies greatly. I have used formulas that follow current nutrition science and practice in designing my calculator. However, the one subjective variable i.e. activity, can be over estimated by users.

In addition, bodies of the same gender, height and weight use calories differently depending on the amount of muscle vs fat. People with more muscle burn more calories than people with higher fat. Taller people burn more calories per pound of body weight than shorter people because the body has a larger surface area to keep warm. Some thin people seem to eat anything they want and not gain weight. While they may expell more calories as body heat, it is not understood why thin people can eat more calories and not gain weight.

Bottom line is, your weight is the sum result of what you eat and how many calories you expend, so don't sweat the formulas to arrive at a calorie estimate. (BTW, stress factors like fever, trauma and surgery add to the calorie needs of an individual.) It is just that, an estimate or starting place. Use my calculator's estimate for your calorie needs as a guide for your meals and snacks. If after a month you gain weight, then perhaps you over estimated your activity expenditure. If after a month you lose weight without wanting to, then perhaps you under estimated your activities. Adjust the calorie estimate up or down depending on what your weight is. As a female, don't pay attention to 3 pound fluctuations in your weight if you are menstruating as small weight gains may reflect a shift in body water i.e. fluid retention.

Scales vary as well. Most scales are spring loaded and the spring becomes stretched with time and may not accurately record weight. Digital scales are similar, but with a digital display. The most accurate scale is a beam balance scale like your doctor uses. You don't need to weight yourself daily, weekly is enough or you can tell about your weight by how your clothes fit.

Hope this helps.


What is the proper weight to enter for your body calculator?

I weight different amounts during the day. Should I also consider a certain amount from clothing or is this incorporated into your calculator?

Enter your weight this morning. Your lowest weight is after rising in the morning after you have emptied your bladder and colon if possible. You can be in light weight clothing or naked, your choice as it probably won't register on your scale. Weight is relative and changes throughout the day as you eat and drink fluids. So naturally, your weight will increase during the day, but will be back down to your current weight by the next morning after your body has digested, absorbed and excreted the foods you ate all day long.

I don't make any assumptions regarding clothing when calculating a healthy body weight or performing a nutritional assessment like the Healthy Body Calculator.


Do you explain how you calculate the amount of fat between waist and hip?

The calculation for a waist to hip ratio follows current nutrition practice. Since it included with proprietary formulas that I used to design the Healthy Body Calculator, I do not provide the formula.

Waist to Hip Ratio determines distribution of body fat. More body fat in the upper body (chest and waist) suggests increased health risk for elevated triglycerides, high blood pressure , stroke, longer time to conceive , heart disease or diabetes. More fat in the lower body (hips and thighs) suggests fat loss is difficult.

This tells you where most of your body fat is located. Apple shape (0.80 or greater) means your body fat is located above your waist which indicates a higher health risk for diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and some cancers. Pear shape (less than 0.80) means your body fat is located below your waist which indicates a lower health risk, but fat located in the lower half of the body may be harder to lose during weight loss.


If I were to follow Your Nutrition Facts in the Healthy Body Calculator, I should lose the 2 pounds a week that I am shooting for? I am not quite sure if that is what that meant.

If you entered your data including a 2 pound weight loss into the Healthy Body Calculator, then yes, Your Nutrition Facts would be the amount of calories to eat for a 2 pound per week weight loss at your current weight. The calculator is based on current nutrition science and practice.

The only subjective data you entered was your estimate of activity hours. So assuming you didn't over estimate your activity and assuming you continue the same amount of activity during your weight loss, you should lose 2 pounds per week.


I located your website today in order to find the formula to calculate the correct calorie intake for a certain weight. I can not find it anywhere. Can you please provide me with that formula? Thank you very much.

n any Ask the Dietitian webpage click on the calculator link in the upper left corner. While I do not provide the formula as it is proprietary, the calculator is based on current nutrition science and practice. If after entering your data you have more questions, please write back.


Today I tried your Healthy Body Calculator and it recommended a weight range of 99 to 121 pounds for my height and 22% body fat goal. I'm not an expert, but the Met Life tables have a 118 to 132 pounds range for (medium frame). Weight Watchers says 109 to 131. I had read somewhere that 22% is a desirable fat percent for women, but I suspect it is making your calculator give the lower range. I'm trying to set a realistic weight goal after two having 2 kids. Do you have any recommendations on ideal body weight or % body fat? Thank You.

If you are 5'2", then a healthy weight for you is 101 to 136 pounds. How did you come up with a 22% body fat goal or are you referring to your BMI? Body fat goals (BMI) vary with age, so 22% body fat is appropriate for younger people, but not seniors. Unless you have had your body fat measured, I would recommend you omit any body fat estimates or goals when entering your data into the Healthy Body Calculator.

Met Life height weight tables are based on the self reported heights and weights of people (25 - 59) who apply for life insurance and fit into the lowest mortality risk group. These figures are analyzed statistically and divided into 3 segments of people with lower weights assigned a small frame, the middle weights a medium frame and the higher weights a large frame. Have you ever had a life insurance agent ask you what body frame you have when applying for life insurance or has any life insurance company asked this on your medical application? They don't.

Weight Watchers includes a greater range of body weight going up to the lower limit of obesity which is 20% higher than ideal body weight. This provides a more generous and probably attainable goal for weight loss. FYI, research has shown that men overestimate their height by 1" and women underestimate their weight by 10 pounds.

A realistic goal is your pre-pregnant weight for starters. Then once you have reached that weight, re-assess where you are using my calculator then set a new goal if necessary. If you are breastfeeding, my calculator will take that into consideration in providing recommendations for weight loss in Your Nutrition Facts on the third page of the calculator.


I just used the Healthy Body Calculator and was shocked by its negative results. Could you please give me some advice or point me to someone who could?

  • The calculator results:
  • Measure: US
  • Age: 29 years
  • Gender: Female
  • Height: 5 feet 7 inches
  • Weight: 168 pounds
  • Pregnant: No
  • Breast feeding: No
  • Activity level: (hours/day)
  • 7 hours - Sleep
  • 7 hours - Very Light / Sedentary
  • 8 hours - Light
  • 1 hours - Moderate
  • 1 hours - Heavy
  • Body fat: Current 23 percent
  • Goal 18 percent
  • Calorie distribution: Fat 30 percent
  • Protein 10 percent
  • Carbohydrate 60 percent
  • Weight goal: Lose 2 pounds per week
  • Elbow breadth: 2 3/4 inches
  • Waist circumference: 33 inches
  • Hip circumference: 39 inches
Results:
  • Healthy body weight range is: 118 to 159 pounds
I have been exercising regularly for about 13.5 months. Prior to that, I did not exercise at all and was probably about 3 pounds heavier. During the last year, I have built up to the following routine: step aerobics (1 hour class) 3 times weekly (sometimes only 2 times); stationary bike 2-3 times weekly for 20 minutes at heavy rate; weight training with a personal trainer 3 times weekly using moderate to heavy weights with 2 sets at 20 reps (lighter weights) or 2 sets at 12 reps (heavier weights).

I sit at a PC all day but walk around the office a lot. I drive to work, get up at 8:00 A.M. work 9 A.M. to 6 P.M. then exercise, eat dinner anytime between 8 to 10 P.M. (late!!) then go to bed between 11:30 P.M. to 12:30 A.M. I travel a lot for my job, about 40% of the time. All of this is international travel worldwide where I experience jet lag, time changes, changes in diet (handle all well) and sometimes no opportunity to exercise. Trips usually last 10 days sometimes up to 3 weeks or less than 1 week.

Current diet when not traveling: Breakfast (10 A.M.): 2 to 3 cups of black coffee, 8 ounces orange juice, cereal muesli plus skim milk, sometimes a bagel with cream cheese instead of muesli. Morning snack (sometimes): banana or apple or yoghurt or a few pieces of chocolate or 2 to 3 cookies. Lunch (12:30 P.M.): I usually eat out, pizza or sandwich or pasta or big salad or Chinese or Mexican. I know this is the not the best. Sometimes I'm good, other times (like Mexican) I eat too much and too heavy foods. Sandwiches are usually without meats (or turkey, chicken), low fat/fat free condiments, try to stay away from high sodium.

Afternoon snack: Sometimes similar to morning, sometimes none, sometimes a chocolate bar or ice cream, hot chocolate w/ skim milk for dessert.

Dinner: I eat very little meat in general (about every 2 weeks, turkey or chicken), but a lot of steamed veggies, salad, (whole) grain bread, a lot of pasta (low calorie, sodium, fat sauces), fish (baked in foil in oven w/ salt free spices & herbs), grains (rice, millet, barley, kasha, etc.), or cheese (love cheese and eat sometime fatty cheeses). I would have 3 glasses of wine with and after dinner (dry red & white) every evening or every second evening. Sometimes 1 to 2 beers instead. If I don't drink wine or beer in the evening, I drink water or herbal teas.

Beverages during the day: Tea (mostly herbal), water, unsweetened ice tea with lunch.

Earlier dinner is difficult since I can't eat at 5 P.M. and exercise at 6 P.M. By the time I have food on the table after exercising it is at least 8 p.m. Any suggestions?

My FRUSTRATION is that I don't look overweight, wear dress size 10 (sometimes even 8, less and less size 12), shoe size 8. I'm happy that I don't have wide hips, although I have a tummy which bothers me. I have a large rip cage, bra size 38B. My shoulders are very wide, looks like a swimmer's shoulders. I have noticed that my body is a bit more shapely since I began exercising, but not as shapely as I would like. Whereas, people don't think of me as overweight, most of co-workers/friends do not necessarily notice that I work out (well, they know I do, but nobody comes up and says "you've been working out". I see family in Europe about 3 times per year and they have not made any comments). So, what am I doing wrong?

Could you please give me some advice for the following: I know that I could eat less (tend to eat large servings), but I've always been eating healthy and big servings, from when I was little. How come that I exercise a lot now and it doesn't make that much difference?

My heart rate during aerobics is high (usually about 33 per 10 seconds count at peak with 22 per seconds 5 minutes later). My doctor knows and said to watch it, but said that some people do have a high heart rate. He doesn't want me to take beta blockers. Particular body areas: What kind of exercise should I do or avoid to enlarge my calves and knees? Both are big, have wide knee caps and some fat around knees. Have always had strong calves.

I would be very grateful for any advice that you can provide, or any points of contact where I could get further advice

First, was your body fat measured or are you estimating it? 23% bodyfat is average for a female, age 29. If you were estimating your body fat percent, then re-do the calculator without adding any body fat data. If you are sure you are 23% body fat and want to get to 18%, then the calculator would have given you a weight goal of 122 to 149 pounds based on 18% body fat goal.

Your exercise routine is very good and probably the reason for your size 10 clothes. Muscle takes up less room than fat and results in more curves. BTW, a woman's hormones encourage curves and you may never have a flat stomach even if you lost weight to the weight goal above, but you can have an exercised body. Can you live with that? I assume you don't have children as a woman's hips spread (permanent) during pregnancy, but this doesn't mean that you have to have unshapely hips. Hope you can live with that if you plan on having children.

By exercising, you have lost body fat mostly because of aerobic exercise and added muscle mostly because of weight lifting. So it is not surprising that your weight has only changed by 3 pounds. Continue with aerobic and weight lifting exercises.

If your heart rate is 33 beats for 10 seconds, then it is 198 for 1 minute which is way too high for effective aerobic exercise. In fact, your maximal heart rate at 29 years is 191. Why would your doctor be discussing beta blockers for a 29 year old? Does he know how intense you exercise?

You are exercising anaerobically (without oxygen) and probably burning blood sugar, not fat!  You should feel hungry and possibly shaky after exercising at this rate for 1 3/4 hours at your current weight. Slow down so that your target heart rate is 23 - 29 beats for 10 seconds. (To figure target heart rate, take 220 - age - resting heart rate X 60% + resting heart rate = lower target rate. Use these same figures, but at 90% to figure the upper limit of target heart rate. Then divide each result by 6 to get your rate for 10 seconds.)  Heart rate is an estimate of oxygen uptake. If your heart rate is too high, you are unable to take in enough oxygen for exercising muscles to burn body fat. No wonder you aren't pleased with your exercise results.

You wonder why exercising doesn't make that big a difference? You have probably also increased your food intake to compensate for the exercise you now get. If you were to add up the calories burned for the exercises you do now that you weren't doing before, that would be the amount of additional calories you are probably eating now compared to what you ate before you exercised. Calories out - calories in = 0 net effect if you eat as many calories as you expend. So to get a continued exercise effect (i.e. lose body fat), you will need to reduce the portions of food you eat or exercise more (latter doesn't seem possible given your lifestyle).

Your family and co-workers may not notice the new improved you since your shape has changed gradually over the last 13.5 months. Why not point it out to those you care about for some positive strokes for the work you have done?

When you travel, you can still take walks or climb stairs in your hotel. Strive to fit 30 minutes of exercise into your day 5 days a week when you travel. Find a creative way to implement this goal depending on where you are in the world.

As for yor large knees and calves, these muscle groups will continue to get bigger if you exercise them beyond their present size. Muscles get bigger when they are asked to do more work than usual i.e. body building results. If you lift weights using your calf muscles, they will get bigger. Aerobic exercise and biking will just keep these muscles toned. Would suggest you ask an exercise physiologist or a certified trainer about your exercise routine.

My calculator would also have told you how many calories, grams of fat, etc to eat and those amounts would depend on whether you chose weight maintenance or loss as a nutritional goal. Look at Your Nutrition Facts on the bottom of page 3. This is the place to start if you want to make some eating changes.

If you want to reach your goal of 18% body fat, then you need to make some adjustments to your eating habits. I wouldn't worry so much about that fact that you don't eat your evening meal till 8 PM as it would be unrealistic to eat before exercising after work. It may be smarter if you make your main meal at noon and a lighter meal in the evening. Your meal and snack schedules are well timed though.

You seem to sense that your portions of food are a bit large and that is where you should start. Start by eating 2/3 of what you would normally eat. You eat a variety of food which is good. Would suggest you cut down your chocolate and  cookie snacking as these foods mostly contribute calories, not nutrients. Instead of ice cream, choose low fat frozen yogurt. Excess calories will support storing fat which will not help you reach your goal of reducing body fat. Stick with fruit, yogurt or grains between meals.

You also mention that your lunch can get out of hand. Would suggest you stick with sandwich, pasta or salad. Choose whole grain breads, little or no sandwich spread (mayonnaise type) and lean meat or vegetable filling for sandwiches. Choose pasta with red sauce rather than white, poultry or fish rather than red meats. Ask for salad dressing on the side so you can decide how much to use. Unless you can order pizza with vegetables (no olives), canadian bacon, ham, chicken or fish, try something else and definitely don't ask for extra cheese!  If you go to a Chinese or Mexican restaurant, order an entree that is not deep fried or ones with lots of sour cream, cheese and olives. Start to recognize sources of fat and start limiting them in foods you choose to eat.

For your evening meal, if you don't eat some kind of meat at noon, then definitely include some meat at dinner. I would recommend you cut down your wine and beer drinking to 1 per day. Wine is lower in calories than beer, but both are a source of calories without providing nutrients (vitamins and minerals). Research does suggest that 1 glass (5 oz) of wine per day is beneficial in terms of reducing heart disease and increasing longevity. Studies point to wine's beneficial benefits and I don't recall research saying the same about beer.

Your other beverages during the day sound healthy, but you may not be getting enough calcium which seems to be limited to milk with cereal at breakfast, ice cream for snacks or cheese. Unless you are alergic to milk, I would suggest you include skim milk at one other meal, perhaps your evening meal.

If you would like additional suggestions, I would recommend you contact a registered dietitian. Call your doctor's office or local hospital and ask to speak to a dietitian. It would be money well spent as you have invested in a personal trainer, why not invest in a personal nutritionist?


Nice site. I enjoyed your "Healthy Body Calculator."

One question: I notice you direct people to measure their elbow for determining their frame size. Over on the Met Life site, which also has a BMI calculator, they say to measure your wrist. Just curious if you know if both are right or if someone is in error. Thanks.

Thanks for the feedback.

FYI, body frame size is not a factor in calculating BMI which is determined from weight and height only.

Measurement of body frame size has not had a lot of research to back it up. The wrist measurement is based on Caribbean research done on cadavers. I don't have the reference handy for using elbows. I checked Met Life and they use elbow measurements as well. They still publish height - weight tables, but the ones on their web site look "lighter" than the last published ones I saw.

The bottom line is people think they can weigh more if they have a larger skeletal frame. The reality is most women are small frame and most men are medium frame. Whether you use wrist or elbow, vertical height is still a factor. So the taller you are, the larger your frame and therefore the more you can weigh.

Basically, in order to estimate body frame size, one would have to choose a site where there is very little overlying fat, tissue or skin on top of your skeleton. The wrist and elbow are the 2 most likely sites to reflect skeletal size. The wrist and elbow tables are pretty gross and should only provide an estimate of skeletal size.


I enjoyed the Healthy Body Calculator. Not to be funny and I hope this isn't offensive, but my wife and I have often wondered. In regards to Healthy Exercise Suggestions, how many calories are burned off during regular 10-15 minutes sexual intercourse?

The references I have says it depends on your body weight, duration and effort. Gender is not a factor in calories burned per minute during any exercise. So I will provide you with data for a male, 176 pounds and female, 137 pounds. The numbers are calories burned per minute. If you weight less or more than this, you can estimate lower or higher calorie expenditures per minute. Then do the math using the variables of your body weight, duration and effort.

Calories are:
  • Passive, light effort (kissing, hugging) M 1.8, F 1.4
  • Moderate effort (kissing, hugging, petting - fondling) M 2.1, F 1.6
  • Vigorous effort (intercourse) M 2.4, F 1.8.


Actually sexual intercourse provides much greater benefits to both men and women (skin, vaginal moistness) than calorie burning. Besides, intercourse isn't like riding a bike or doing aerobics for a set amount of minutes each time you exercise. Hopefully you are not even thinking about using a stop watch. Just enjoy each other.


I am 5' 1", 48 years old, and weigh 193 lbs. (I have just lost 17 lbs.) I have high blood pressure, cholesterol and sugar diabetes. I am on capoten and have the blood pressure under control. I need to know how many calories per day I can consume to continue to lose weight. I am not very active and my frame is large.

Also can you tell me how much sodium my mother should be limited to. She is 72 and has had open heart surgery. After which she had a major heart attack. She has about 1/3 of the use of her heart left. She has been told to restrict her sodium. (She has had 2 congestive heart failure attacks in one year). How much sodium and where to find low / no sodium foods?

Congrats on the recent weight loss!

Have you tried the Healthy Body Calculator yourself to see how many calories you need to lose weight? You can customize your results by choosing the percent fat calories you want or whether to lose 1 or 2 pounds per week. I doubt that you have a large frame considering your height, but you can check that out with the calculator also by measuring your elbow width.

You didn't ask about your high blood pressure, cholesterol or blood sugar, but weight loss should help bring those levels under better control. Another thing you can do for yourself is exercise 30 minutes 5 days a week. Choose an exercise you like and ask a friend to join you.

If your mom has had 2 congestive heart failure attacks in one year, she does need a sodium restricted diet. Usually, persons with CHF follow a 1 gm sodium diet, but her doctor may want her on a lesser amount of sodium (i.e. 500 mg). What that means is you don't cook with salt or use it at the table. Also, canned food is not allowed other than fruit. Salted and brined foods are also high in sodium. You don't necessarily need to buy low sodium foods other than possibly condiments or salad dressings, canned soups, etc. which you should be able to find in your local grocery store in the "dietetic" section. A dietetic food is not necessarily salt free. It may mean sugar free or that one other ingredient has been changed from the "regular" food. The best would be to cook everything fresh and from raw ingredients so you avoid not only added salt, but also hidden sources of sodium.

I would suggest you contact a registered dietitian who can read your mom's medical chart to recommend a specific amount. Call the clinic where your mom's doctor practices and ask to make an appointment with a dietitian.


I enjoyed your page quite a lot. I'm always interested in finding new health and fitness information.

I do however have one problem. Your chart as well as most else out there does not take one thing into consideration with hip waist ratios. They all assume that one has moderately sized hips. I do not apparently have the hips that are expected of me. I wear men's jeans quite comfortably. Because of this, these charts tell me time and time again that I am terribly out of shape and I'm a prime candidate for heart disease. Yet it tells me that my BMI is within the healthy range. I would like to get a totally accurate reading. This proves to be frustrating. Could you please get back to me on this matter. Thank you.

Each assessment tool of Healthy Body Calculator works independently of the other sections. Though, I have assembled these various assessment tools together in one calculator, the sum total of these assessment tools may not necessarily give you an overall "healthy" stamp of approval.

The waist to hip ratio is a quick health risk assessment for heart disease that health professionals can use in the field without instruments or lab equipment. It is a very gross method of determining risk of heart disease and is used when family history, physical exam and blood cholesterol are unavailable.

Unfortunately, due to the infinite variances among humans, you happen to fall outside the "hip" assessment norms. This assessment though should not be the only factor you consider in assessing your health. If your other assessments, i.e. weight and BMI, fall within the healthy ranges, rely on those results rather than the waist hip ratio. If your weight doesn't increase with age and you don't have children, your hips may never spread and your waist to hip ratio may never change to a "norm".


I know that this is a really unoriginal question but I couldn't find it in your other questions. What is the healthy weight for someone with a small body frame who is 5' 1/2" in height? I'd really appreciate the answer to this! Thanks.

Check it out yourself on the Healthy Body Calculator. No matter what weight you put in, the calculator will result with your healthy weight for height. Remember to measure your elbow and the calculator will determine your frame size.

A healthy weight range would be 93 to 113 pounds. A good rule of thumb is a minimum weight of 100 pounds for all adults no matter what their height.


I completed your survey about me and feel it DOES NOT accurately represent me. I feel this information given in this is one woman's opinion of how someone should be. I am very happy and feel I am in good physical condition.
Are you referring to the Healthy Body Calculator? If so, it is not a survey, but a nutritional assessment tool that is based on nutrition science and practice, not my opinion. The results do reflect an accurate assessment. If you are happy and in good physical condition, then congratulations. Eat healthy and exercise every day.


I'm a 24 year old male, weighing 58 kg and my height is 180cm. Your Healthy Body Calculator tells me I am very underweight, but I don't think so. My current fat percentage is about 9% and I aim it to be 5%. So I should just lose weight instead of gaining weight. What should I do?

The Healthy Body Calculator will adjust if you add your current body fat percent and / or a goal body fat. However, you are underweight for height (5'11" and 128 pounds) even at 9% body fat. At your current weight, you only have 5.2 kg (11.5 pounds) of fat on your entire body!

If you are competing in a sport, your low weight will be a hindrance. Even if you are a marathon runner, your muscle mass is too low for height. Why do you want to lose down to 5% body fat?

At your current weight and height, your muscle mass and strength is diminished. I would recommend that you maintain your current body fat, increase your body weight to at least 75 kg (165 pounds) through weight lifting to increase muscle mass. Are you comfortable with this goal?


42 year old female here. Wondering what correct weight should be?? I am 5' 1' tall, weight is 106 pounds. Can you give me what the current weight table is. Thank you for your time.

Try the Healthy Body Calculator and find out for yourself. It will figure a healthy weight, BMI as well as calories / fat grams based on your nutrition goals like weight change or limiting fat. Check it out by clicking on the calculator graphic at the top of this page. If you have problems, please write back.


Hi! I'm not sure how I got to your page, I must have stumbled on to a link of some sort. Thank you for providing information like this. All the information I see around me gets confusing.

All I know is that I'm getting older, the pounds are adding up and I need to get in shape. As I develop my plan I will check back and see how I am fairing. I'm thick in the middle and it's a tough spot to get in shape, especially since I have never been a fitness guru (sp?). This will be a useful resource to me.

I ask though, that if your selling a diet plan or something that you please not solicit me for business. I know getting in shape and loosing body fat is all in my activity level and fat consumption. (Then there are all the other things to add in, but I know those two things need adjustment in my life!). But thank you again for providing this site.

I personally do not sell anything, especially not diet plans or supplements. I do however host advertising for nutrition products and services that are based on nutrition science. I do not store your data from the Healthy Body Calculator, I do not sell the email addresses of people who write me and I do not send junk mail to viewers. Are you relieved?

Glad you enjoyed the calculator, as it is accurate. Come back often to re-check your progress toward your health goals.


Its distressing to see that your calculator comes back with "You are at an unhealthy weight" and "You are overfat" for a female who is 23% body fat at 150 pounds and 5 foot 4. Clearly this program uses some sort of outdated height/weight chart. Disappointing.

The Healthy Body Calculator uses several nutrition science based formulas. If you are 23% bodyfat, you would not have gotten an "unhealthy weight" message. If however, you put in just your height and weight, you would have gotten an unhealthy weight message because your BMI calculation is in the "overfat" range as you indicated. BMI is a calculated health risk assessment based on an average (not lean) person. If you have had your body fat measured at 23%, you need to include that figure in the calculations.

If you would like your current body fat included in your calculations, you need to include it in the body fat section on page 2 of the calculator. You can also include a body fat goal and the calculator will refigure your weight goal based on your body fat goal.

So try it again and include your current body fat to get a weight range based on your current 23% body fat.


I am a little confused about my calculator report. After I plug in all my answers to your questions, it calculates that I should be eating 2510 calories/84 gr. of fat. This seems like a lot of "food" for someone trying to lose 2 lbs. per week. Can I believe it?

You probably over estimated your activity hours as it is the only subjective (your estimate) data. Or you are very overweight and don't need to reduce a lot of calories to lose 2 lb. per week.

Surprisingly, most people think that 1200 calories is a one size fits all diet for weight reduction. Not true. Depending on what your current weight is and your current calorie intake, you may be able to lose 2 pounds per week on 2500 calories. You would lose a lot more weight more quickly on 1200 calories, but you may be more likely regain quick weight loss or find it very difficult to stick to 1200 calories because it is too low.

Re-try the Healthy Body Calculator, but this time don't enter any activity hours. Also, don't choose to lose weight, just maintain. The resulting calories will be your BMR (basal metabolic rate). Now go back again and include your activity hours to find a calorie level appropriate for you to lose 2 pounds per week.

The Healthy Body Calculator is based on nutrition science and practice so yes, you can believe it.


Here's my curiosity: Yesterday. I had oral surgery (wisdom teeth pulled- nothing serious) and spent the day laying down and resting. Of course I couldn't eat nor did I feel like it. But I got to wondering, how many calories would we use if we were bed bound or rested all day? How many calories would we need to consume to maintain our weight under those conditions, assuming there was no illness taxing us and we were in perfect health otherwise?

Try Healthy Body Calculator and see for yourself. Instead of filling in your activity hours, just leave it blank. Your result will be as if you were sitting around all day. They try the calculator by adding in some activity times. You will find that your body burns more calories just keeping itself running unless you perform hard manual labor as your job.


I find that even though I am at the upper range of healthy body fat, I am very much overweight. I tried my data from much younger years and was in a very good range at that time. I wonder why you even bother to ask for age if weight difference is not calculated any differently for a 20-year-old and a 50-year-old person. Also I find no difference for frame size either. Again I find the calculator a "cool" gadget but question its true validity if the data entered makes little or no difference in the final answer. Thank you for you internet service.

Age is a factor in some of the calculations. For example BMI and Your Nutrition Facts, age makes a difference in the results.

I have yet to find reliable weight tables for adults graduated by age. Actually, there is little difference in "healthy weight ranges" between 20 and 50-year-old persons based on the research I have found. There is a difference among "seniors" though as there is a loss of muscle and bone. There are some "senior" weight tables, but the data varies among tables. When I find a reliable data set, I will incorporate it.

Your skeleton doesn't change that much with age other than loss of vertical height, which mostly occurs in the spine. Some loss of height is due to compression, some due to osteoporosis.

The Healthy Body Calculator results are derived from your data using accepted nutrition principles and practice. Your results are a valid assessment, which provides you feedback about your nutritional status. The bottom line is you can use the results to change your lifestyle and improve your health risk from nutrition factors or not. What you choose to do is your choice.


Loved your Healthy Body Calculator! Hate your idea of what a women 5'10 should weigh! Are you still using the metropolitan charts? I haven't been 165 since junior high! I'm aerobically fit (and have an extra pint of blood because I live at a higher altitude) and look pretty good in shorts. I'm not an athlete and I weigh 195. Now, when I pretended to be a guy your calculator said I could weigh 183. That is probably more accurate for me.

Perhaps erring on the side of "thinness" has some advantages, but I'm not letting my daughters see your site any time soon. May be you could review these numbers.

No I don't use the Metropolitan Life Insurance tables to calculate weight. Besides weight is only one parameter to determine health.

Most practitioners rely on the BMI. What was your calculated BMI and was it still in a healthy range at 195 pounds? If so, then ignore the healthy weight range.

Also, if you are aerobically fit, perhaps your body fat is on the low end, which would mean that your muscle mass is on the high end. Muscle weighs more than fat. If you know your % body fat, enter that value into my calculator because it will affect how your healthy body weight range is calculated.

There are a lot of variables to calculate weight. Guys get to weigh more because they have lower percent body fat due to testosterone. Females have higher percent body fat due to progesterone and estrogen.


Your weight and calorie calculator may be mis-calibrated. I am 192 pounds and 6'2'' tall and it recommends almost 5,000 calories a day!

I completed a similar program on another site and it came up with 3,000 calories per day. I spent a day trying to eat that much and found that, with a low fat intake, it was very difficult. So, I can only imagine what 5,000 calories would be like! Just thought I'd check in on this - thanks.

You probably over estimated your physical activity, as that is the only data not based on physical measurements. Include activities for an average number of hours per week. Only include your exercise time based on your average number of hours / minutes per week. The Healthy Body Calculator is based on nutrition science and calculates accurately if you put in measured physical data.

Congratulations on eating a low fat diet. It is difficult to eat really low fat and high calorie because of how much more food (volume) you have to eat. The difference between the calories in 1 gram of fat (9) versus the calories in 1 gram of protein or carbohydrate (4) make fat a good choice for people who want to gain weight or are unable to eat a large volume of food. At 3,000 calories per day, you should aim for 130 grams of fat or less. This would translate into 20 fat servings. (1 tsp. butter or 1 ounce of lean red meat would approximate 1 fat serving.) At 5,000 calories per day, you would have to aim for 167 grams of fat or less. This would translate into at least 33 fat servings. While this sounds like a lot of fat, depending on the foods you choose, fat adds up quickly even if you don't eat food that is fried.


Hello. I have a few questions about the Healthy Body Calculator. When I enter my weight, should it be clothed or not? Also, I am a below the knee amputee and weigh myself with my prosthesis on. Even though it weighs considerably less than real tissue, is the weight of the prosthesis included in the automatic adjustment? Thank you for providing this useful tool.

Your "true weight" is without any clothes, fasted (just after awakening in the morning with empty bladder and after a bowel movement), but I consider weight to be relative to time. Either you are maintaining, gaining or losing weight over time. So it is your choice to weigh yourself with or without clothes. FYI, weight charts that most doctors' use includes the weight of indoor clothes, but without shoes. These doctors' weight charts do not include weight adjustments for persons with amputated limbs or prosthetic devices.

I would suggest you weigh yourself without your prosthesis as the Healthy Body Calculator will adjust for any amputated limbs you indicate. Also, since prosthetic devices vary in weight, I could not include any prosthetic weight in the calculation. So your calculated healthy body weight range will not include your below the knee limb weight nor your prosthesis. Your Nutrition Facts will also be adjusted downward for your amputated limb.


I am a 36-year-old, large framed woman, 5'9" and weigh 250 pounds. I just completed the calculations for losing two pounds a week using your calculator and I am wondering if there is a mistake. The total calories listed were 3770, which seems very high. I have been eating 2000 a day, with corresponding fat, carbohydrates, etc. as is listed on the daily value charts (% DV) on food packages, (though I have been trying to keep the fat to under 35 grams).

Since I began this about two weeks ago, we have moved and I am able to walk nightly with a close friend. I decided it was time to make a life change before I keel over. Until a twin pregnancies six years ago, my weight fluctuated between 140 and 180, so the target range listed seems accurate. The calories just seem so high! Please write back and let me know if you think there has been a mistake. Thank you.

You probably over estimated your activity level. In addition, your current weight will increase the number of calories just to maintain your weight which is the baseline for calculating weight loss.

Try using the calculator again and don't include any activity. This will be your basal metabolic rate or the amount of calories your body needs just lying in bed. Next add activity calories. Compare the difference between the calories you burn just laying in bed versus getting up and moving around.

I would think the 2000 calories diet you have been following seems reasonable, but 35 grams of fat is only 16% calories from fat which may leave you not feeling satisfied after meals. 66 grams of fat would give you about 30% calories from fat.


I have some questions.
1. Although my waist is 36" and my hips are 45" (inches), the program labels me as apple shaped. I have patently got a pear shape. What gives?
2. I make my own bread, eat leftovers for lunch and generally cook up unlabelled foods for dinner.

Most of the snacks I eat aren't labeled either. How can I calculate calorie intake? I can't use the software you usually recommend. Thanks for your time.

If the calculation for waist to hip ratio resulted apple shape, then that is what you are. You may want to re-measure your body just to check again.

Options to analyze your food intake are: nutrition analysis software, a registered dietitian who will analyze your food records, the diabetic exchange list or My Plate Food Guide which you can use as guides.

All foods can be categorized into 6 different exchanges i.e. milk, meat, fruit, vegetable, bread, fat or combinations of several different exchanges. Or you could follow the My Plate Food Guide which separates foods into the same 6 groups (fats also includes sweets in the pyramid), but pyramid serving sizes are based on nutrient content not calories, protein, fat and carbohydrate like in the diabetic exchanges. You may want to talk to a registered dietitian to design an eating plan that utilizes a guide like exchanges or the pyramid servings to achieve your health goals.


I did this report and it seems a little odd. How come it says I should take in over 3400 calories a day if I want to lose weight?

Either you overestimated your activity level or your current body weight is far above a healthy range. First, go back and check your activity level as it is the only subjective data in the calculations. All other data you enter should be based on measured values. Since body weight is the basis for calculating calories, if your body weight is quite high, then perhaps 3400 calories may be an appropriate weight loss for amount for you to eat.


I just did my Healthy Body Calculator and it confirmed what I already know. I am at an unhealthy weight. Is the "Your Nutrition Facts what I should be eating each day or the result of what I have been eating? Also, any tips on what I should be eating to ensure 2 pounds loss per week.

Your Nutrition Facts results depend on the data you entered i.e. your current weight and your weight goal (maintain, lose or gain). Therefore, Your Nutrition Facts are what you should eat based on your weight goal.

Record the food you eat and use Your Nutrition Facts calories and fat grams as a guide. Exercise more, at least 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week. Perhaps you should see a registered dietitian who could analyze your food intake and make recommendations on an eating plan based on your food preferences (likes and dislikes).


I have gone through the Healthy Body Calculator and it said I need 4,040 calories per day to lose 2 pounds per week. Most diets talk about a 2000 per day calorie intake. Is this correct? Here is my data.

Measure: US
Age: 28 years
Gender: Male
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 195 pounds
Activity level:
8 hours - Sleep
6 hours - Very Light / Sedentary
5 hours - Light
5 hours - Moderate
0 hours - Heavy
Calorie distribution:
Fat 30 percent
Protein 10 percent
Carbohydrate 60 percent
Weight goal: Lose 2 pounds per week
Elbow breadth: 2 3/4 inches
Waist circumference: 38 inches
Hip circumference: 37 inches

Do you think you over estimated your light and moderate activity? Do you really exercise continuously at these rates for 10 hours per day? If not, go back and redo the Healthy Body Calculator. Unfortunately, most people sit or stand most of the day which is very light /sedentary activity. If you do exercise, how long do you exercise at the light or moderate level?

A weight loss diet should be planned at a level less than the person needs to maintain their weight. This depends on how much they eat and how much exercise they get. It is possible that a 3,000-calorie diet is a weight loss diet if you need over 4,000 calories per day to maintain your weight. There is not such thing as a stock 1200 or 1500-calorie diet fitting everyone's calorie needs. A calorie prescription should be individually tailored to a person's weight, food intake and exercise habits. Successful weight loss (i.e. losing weight and keeping it off for 2 years) depends on eating less food, exercising 5 times per week for 30 minutes and nutritionally analyzing everything you eat. If you want a customized weight loss plan, go see a registered dietitian.


Your calculator rejects a distribution of dietary fat with 15% of total caloric intake. For persons on a low fat diet 15% would be a reasonable goal. Why is this not recognized in your program?

The Healthy Body Calculator will accept a fat distribution down to 10%. I would suggest you try again and perhaps your fat, protein and carb didn't total 100%. If you change the fat, make sure you also change one or both of the other calorie nutrients.

Thanks for writing.


According to your calculations I am very obese.(and I agree). I have always been fat (even as a kid). Where can I get some help? I have asked my doctor about it but he just directed me to exercise.

My Profile is:
33 years old/Male
Occupation:Sales
Height:5'11"
Weight:275 lb.

Any input would be appreciated.

Well the Healthy Body Calculator will allow you to choose to lose 1 or 2 pounds per week. Re-do the calculator with that goal in mind and your personal calorie recommendation will be figured. If you want to change the percent of calories from fat, carbohydrate or protein, do so when you are on page 2.

Next you need a meal plan that includes your food preferences and a personalized exercise plan that works within your lifestyle. I would suggest you go see a registered dietitian for your meal plan and an exercise physiologist for your exercise plan. Both these professionals should be available at your doctor's clinic. Some health clubs hire these professionals as well to work with clients.

First aim to lose 10% of your current body weight which would be about 28 pounds. At 2 pounds per week, it should take you about 14 weeks. With each 5 to 10 pounds you lose, go back to the Healthy Body Calculator and enter your "thinner" data. As you lose weight, your calorie requirements will drop and you will need to adjust your food intake down as well so that you continue to lose weight.


I am 5'8", medium build and weigh 207 lb. What should my weight be?

Well why don't you try the Healthy Body Calculator out so you can put in your goals i.e. weight and calorie distribution. You should weigh around 149 - 169 pounds. You can determine your body frame size (build) by using the calculator yourself. Persons with a medium build should weigh towards the middle of the range or around 154 pounds.


Hello. I'm about 20 pounds overweight and I just determined my daily calorie intake with the Healthy Body Calculator on your web site. I must say that I was surprised (happily so) to see that I should be eating about 1900 calories/day. However, this seems REALLY high compared with what I've been told by magazines, companies, etc., which normally say that a 5'1" woman should be eating between 1200-1500 calories/day. Why the difference? If I'm currently 125 lb., do Stairmaster 45 min 3-4x a week and want to lose about 20 lb., should I really be eating that much? I hope so.

First, there is no normal calorie requirements based on height alone. Your body composition and daily activity including exercise has a great impact on how many calories you burn. It is true that the taller / more active you are, the more calories you need to maintain your body. So depending on how you entered your activity hours, there could be great variability in the calories calculated. Try entering various activities and see the results for yourself. BTW, your Stairmaster routine amounts to less than 20 minutes when averages over a week. Do you think you may have overestimated your activities when you used the Healthy Body Calculator?

With regards to your weight, you are only about 10 pounds overweight. So go back and rerun the Healthy Body Calculator with your weight goal and activity hours included. I would also suggest you include weight training in your exercise schedule as muscle burns more calories than fat. Include a goal of increasing your muscle mass and reducing body fat through aerobic exercise and weight training while including a gradual reduction in calories. Weight loss that is slow is more likely to be kept off. Focus on increasing your strength while eating healthy rather than a number on a scale.


Where it says Your Nutrition Facts, is that saying what I am eating now or something I should be doing?

That was a lot of calories and fat grams. I don't even come close to that now. I eat probably 1000 calories a day and according your data I am definitely overweight so I really would like to know how / what the results of that calculator mean?

I never feel hungry I have gone from eating at 5:30 PM to not eating till 12:30 P.M. the next day and not feel hungry. WHY???? Hope I hear from you soon.

Your Nutrition Facts are calculated from the data that you entered using proven nutrition science algorithms. If you chose to lose or gain or maintain weight, Your Nutrition Facts were adjusted to include that data. As to how Your Nutrition Facts compares to what you are eating now, you would have to evaluate that by writing down everything you eat / drink and analyze your food with some nutrition analysis software.

If you are overweight, then your calories and fat are going to be higher because it takes more calories to maintain your weight at that higher level. If you are on a weight reduction program, then you need to reduce your calories. As you lose 5 to 10 pounds, you will need to refigure how many calories to eat as your calorie needs will drop as you lose weight. When you get to your weight goal, you will need to slightly increase the calories you eat to maintain your weight goal, but not enough to start gaining again.

Hunger is dependent on many factors, one of which is how often you are used to eating. Depending on the fat content of your last meal, you may not be hungry for up to 6 hours after eating. Fat keeps you satisfied longer between meals because it is the slowest energy-producing nutrient to be digested and absorbed by the body.

I would suggest you start including a morning meal to break your fast from the previous night's meal. In addition, if you split the calories you do eat into several meals, your body is more likely to immediately burn the calories for fuel rather than storing those calories as body fat. For instance if you were to eat two 500-calorie meals, you may not need that many calories. Any calories not immediately needed for energy would be stored in fat cells. If you ate three meals of 333 calories each, you would probably not store any calories in fat cells.

I would not recommend less than 1200 calories to lose weight and less than 1600 calories per day is probably deficient in several vitamins or minerals. Since you choose to eat 1000 calories per day, I would suggest you take a multivitamin. Read the vitamin supplements topic.


I found yours and other worksheets interesting in evaluating what a person's weight should be. However, this seems to be for the average person. For those of us who are large in frame due to weightlifting, bodybuilding, football and other sports, which require a muscular frame, this seems to imply that we are grossly overweight. At least that is what your formula implied as to my frame and weight. Some of us who played football and the height of 5' 8" are no where near the 139-169-weight range for a large frame male. We all were in the 180-200 lb. range and I could assure you that we have every little body fat. Is there anyway for your calculation formula to take athletes with more muscle weight into consideration. Thanks for taking the time to read this.

In fact, the Healthy Body Calculator does just that, if you enter your current % body fat and / or a goal even if you just want to maintain your current body fat level. Then the calculator won't perform the average body weight calculation or a BMI. Did you read the text on page 2 below the % body fat and on page 3 below the % body fat calculation that explains this?

I formerly taught sports nutrition at the university and worked with collegiate football and hockey players who turned pro or entered the Olympics as well as body builders. That is why I designed the Healthy Body Calculator to work for athletes as well as average people and body builders who have a lean body fat.


Does it suggest that I might be in "healthy" range because I have low BF % ? Maybe not. 75 lb. with 8% can not be a healthy person. I guess it's just an exception to the BF norm. The healthiness of that kind of person can be determined by medical doctor or something like that. By the way, this 144 - 176 lb. range assume a certain BF % like 20 % ?

Thanks for the advice. I'll try to follow your advice. I tried to count calories, but I usually give up when I eat out, like at the Chinese restaurant. I just don't know the calories of various dishes. Would you recommend a good book for a calorie counting ?

Yes, you are correct in your assumptions. Because your body fat is low the calculator assesses that that your body weight must be appropriate which it is not. You are underweight. Therefore no matter what your weight, if you maintain 8% body fat, the calculator will tell you, your body weight is healthy. I have fixed that exception. Usually persons with low body fat and high body weight have problems with these types of calculations. You are the exception with low body fat and low body weight.

The healthy body weight range of 144 - 176 assumes a body fat of less than 25. Of course, you could weight more than 176 if your body fat was low.

A doctor or a dietitian can assess your weight to height ratio. You are underweight.

Counting calories is boring. It is easier to write down everything you eat and then use nutrition analysis software to keep track of calories, grams of fat and other nutrients. It has over 18,000 foods to choose from and there are a lot of "entrees" listed and many fast food restaurants. Don't know of a good book for calorie counting.


Hello, I found your calculator and found very useful. But I have some questions while using it. I'm a male, 5' 9", 125 lb. and body fat 8%, 3 and half inch elbow width. I typed in above information to the calculator and it says I'm right at the middle of the healthy weight range, which is from 113 to 138 lb. Is something wrong in the calculator ?

I've been always a very thin person. Will it be tough to gain weight maintaining some body fat % ? If I'm 145 lb. at body fat 8%, it means I'm overweight?

You are a perfect exception to the body fat norm. You are thin with a low body fat. Use the calculator without inputting your body fat to calculate a healthy body weight, which should be 144 - 176 pounds. Ignore your BMI calculation as your actual 8% body fat may be much lower.

Yes you can weigh 145 pounds and still be 8% body fat. No you will not be overweight. Try your same data including body fat, but change your weight to 145 pounds. It will calculate a healthy weight range above and below 145 pounds.

To gain weight that is more muscle and less fat, weight lift to maintain your low body fat and increase your muscle mass while gaining weight. You can choose to gain 1 or 2 pounds per week and the calculator will determine how many additional calories you need to eat. Leave the fat at 30% of calories as fat is a concentrated source of calories. To gain weight, you will need to eat a lot more food than you usually eat as carbohydrates or proteins are move bulky than fat.

I would be surprised if your elbow breadth is 3 1/2", try measuring your elbow again. This time, place a ruler on a flat surface in front of you while placing your left fingers on the protruding bones of your right elbow, lay your elbow on the ruler. Then remove your elbow, but leave your left-hand fingers on the ruler. Read the number of inches between your fingers to get a better measurement. Then re-run the calculator.


This is a wonderful device. I was wondering if this is available for down loading or if I can purchase the program and any other nutrition programs that you are aware of.

Thanks.

If you are referring to the Healthy Body Calculator, it is not down loadable software that will run on a PC. But you can run it as many times as you choose from my web page.

Look for a stand alone nutrition analysis software that will calculate a healthy body weight, activity level and at least 200 exercises.


I almost never eat that much in a day. It's almost impossible?!? I always thought that 2000 calories a day was a good limit. Why is it so high when I spend 13 hr. a day doing sedentary work? 2850 calories is a lot. I can spread that out over two days. Please mail me back if you have time. Thanks

If you are referring to your Healthy Body Calculator report, perhaps you overestimated your daily activity level. Without any of your data, I can't comment on whether or not Your Nutrition Facts calories are too high. The calculations are entirely based on the physical data you input. The only variable left to your judgment is your activity level. Did you overestimate what you do in a typical day? Also, do you write down and nutritionally analyze everything you eat? You may be surprised.


Can you explain BMI to me? I did the Healthy Body Calculator. My approximate weight is 151. I do aerobics 4-5 times per week and strength training at least twice per week. By current body fat is 20.6. I would like to see it at 15. Can you help me? Thanks.

BMI stands for Body Mass Index. It is a calculated estimate of your percent body fat. If you were to divide the body, you would have 2 piles of either fat or muscle with organs and bones. A BMI or percent body fat less than 25 is considered healthy. Since your known body fat is lower than this norm, BMI will not accurately calculate your percent body fat. I would suggest you input your body fat data to the Healthy Body Calculator to get a more accurate result.

If you want to lower your percent body fat and know that you are 20.6, I would suggest you enter your current body fat as 21 and your body fat goal as 15. The Healthy Body Calculator will tell you what you should weigh when you reach your goal of 15% body fat.

Your current exercise routine would support a reduction in body fat. However, you did not say what you were eating and food has a great impact on body composition as well as exercise. If you are eating sufficient calories to maintain your weight, preventing weight gain and limiting fat to less than 30% of your total calories, you could reach your goal even without any weight loss. If you also want to lose weight, exercise is the only way to maintain the muscle you have and lose only fat pounds. Unfortunately, I cannot predict how long it will take you to lose 6% of your body fat whether you maintain or lose weight. I can only predict how many calories you need to lose 1 or 2 pounds per week. You can add a weight loss goal along with your body fat data and the Healthy Body Calculator will predict how many calories you need to reach your goal.


Hi, We understand the situation with Healthy Body Calculator; we just found it interesting. We were wondering if you could supply us with any information about what the proper weight and muscle mass that people should be to be healthy and how to get that way. That would be a great help for our research and us if you could help us out.

Probably the current best indicator of a healthy weight is the BMI, which calculates the percent body fat. General guidelines are posted on the Healthy Body Calculator BMI graph. A BMI < 25 is considered healthy, 26 - 29 overfat and > 30 unhealthy, but is age dependent. I would suggest you surf the net for Body Mass Index or BMI to get more information.

As to how to get to a healthy BMI, try diet and exercise. Diet to reduce weight. Exercises to increase muscle mass and decrease fat. Muscle burns many times the calories that fat does and keeps your metabolic rate higher for up to 15 hours after exercise. Basically, body fat just sits there, occupying space and storing calories. A certain amount of body fat is necessary though to produce sex hormones, insulate the body from cold and cushion the internal organs.

A healthy weight and muscle mass varies between individuals and depends on gender, height, weight and age. However, there is no reason that with increasing age, a person can't maintain a healthy weight through diet and exercise.


Hi, I just completed the Healthy Body Calculator test and I just wanted to make sure I understood the nutrition fact sheet. Is that the list I should follow?

I only want to lose 1 lb. a week, but it says to follow a guideline of 1,770 per day. I just wanted to make sure that it wasn't a list guessing how much I am eating now. Please write back, thank you.

Your Nutrition Facts was calculated on the data you entered and your weight goal. If you selected to lose 1 pound per week, then yes, Your Nutrition Facts deducted calories to include the weight loss. No guesses here. Healthy Body Calculator is based on your physical measurements and nutrition science algorithms.

The only variable you are asked to estimate is your activity level. Make sure that you have accurately estimated your activity hours. If your weight loss does not occur as expected and you have kept track of the calories you have eaten daily, you may want to go back and re-assess your activity level. It may not be as high as you estimated.


Hello. was intrigued by your Healthy Body Calculator, but dismayed by an error I received. It said that an error occurred because I entered an unacceptable protein percentage (30%) and that I was only allowed to enter a number between 10 and 20%. I eat a 40/30/30 diet, so I couldn't use the calculator accurately because of the error. No big deal - just thought you should know. I did, however, "fudge" the input to see what kind of information you give and was very pleased with the results. Keep it up - this is an excellent site!

There are limits built into the program I designed to run the calculator so that people won't harm himself or herself. You seem to be eating a pattern like the Zone diet. I will consider increasing the protein percent to 30 after doing some research.

Thanks for the feedback.


I just did the calculations based on my information. It refers to a 4510 calorie a day diet. Isn't that a bit much? I feel I need to lose about 40 pounds, though the computer says I should only lose about 10 or 15. Why are there such large discrepancies between what say, my doctor advises and what your Healthy Body Calculator deducted?

Since you didn't include your physical data, I can only answer generally. In regards to calories, perhaps you overestimated your activity. Most people are sedentary i.e. sit or stand most of the waking day. Go back and re-evaluate your activity hours.

With regards to your weight, the healthy range calculated is correct. I do not know what table or calculation your doctor used to recommend a healthy weight for you. Since it is a range, did you pick the upper limit of a healthy weight for you or did you read about your body frame size relative to where you fall in that weight range?


Hello, I just paid my first visit to your web site and found it very informative and interesting. My only concern is that when you enter your height and waist and hip measurements, there isn't enough room if you are say: 5'4 1/2 inches tall or your hips are 30.5 inches. There is only enough room for two numbers so you can't enter your exact measurements or weight. I don't know if it makes a lot of difference in all of the calculations, but I guess being one of those people with a lot of concern with how their body is changing as they start to get older. I'm only 28, but my body type was the same for so many years and then I gained some weight. So it is a bit of concern that I don't go too much farther. There is some heavier weight genes on my mother's side and I don't want them to have a chance to kick in as I get older. I definitely want to at least maintain my weight so your web site was great as it gave me a better idea of what I should be doing nutrition and exercise wise. It is important to know everything for sure.

Also, I'm a bit confused. Your program tells me I'm apple shaped which means that most of my body fat is above the waist. Waist: 26 inches, hips: 30.5 inches. I do have body fat that decided a couple of years ago to show up on my tummy. But if I do gain weight, it usually lands on my hips. (The fit of my jeans lets me know if I have gained some weight.) My ratio number came out at 0.87. I also weigh 113 lb. I don't know if this info will help or if any of my rambling will help, but I really would appreciate a reply when you have some time (you must be so busy). Thank you very much for your time.

Actually, fractions of inches or of pounds would not create a significant change on the result. So don't sweat the fractions.

With regards to your waist to hip ratio, perhaps you could re-run the calculator with 31" hips to see if you change to a pear shape. BTW your weight is on the low end for your height and you may be premature in worrying about your "fat genes". Your BMI is probably on the lean end anyway.

PS I designed the calculator because so many people asked what they should weight and how many calories they should eat. I figured people would like to tinker with the numbers themselves!


I found your Healthy Body Calculator interesting and entertaining. You may be interested in knowing that, as is the case with most health measures, the calculation deviates, greatly, from reality for those of us on the extreme ends of the size spectrum. I am a 6'9", 285 lb. and 39 year-old male. When I used your algorithm, I was told that my healthy weight range was 209-255. Those days are long gone. As best I can determine, I would be in GREAT shape, to reduce to 270. I'll never see 260, again. It gave me a chuckle to see the result of rerunning the algorithm, adding in my current body fat ratio (18%). Suddenly, I was exactly the right weight. I understand how this happens, but it was visually entertaining, none-the-less. It underscores, the deviation, from the normal curve. Are you aware of any studies that specifically target the big-and-tall set?

You and short people are the reason why designing a weight / calorie calculator can be difficult.

Since you know your % body fat, including it produced a more realistic healthy weight calculation. Congratulations, most people your age have a higher body fat! If you think you should lose weight, I would suggest focusing on losing body fat through exercise and resculpt your shape.

I am not aware of any studies that target big or tall persons. As it is, there are few studies that deal with people of any size, gender or age as to healthy weight to height proportions. Because of that, many people rely on life insurance height weight tables.


We have a health project in school. What we have to find out how to test one's % body fat. I would appreciate it if you would supply me with this information.

Test out the Healthy Body Calculator. The body fat section tells you how fat can be measured. Also look at the BMI section. You should be able to find more details by searching on the net or in your library for this assessment methods.

Unfortunately, if you are younger than 18, it will not do any calculations for you. So to see info about how to test one's percent body fat, pretend for now that you are older.

Also, have you read my nutrition topics like exercise, sports nutrition and overweight for more info?


I did give the calculator a try. Pretty neat. I'm assuming that the generation of the nutrition facts (specifically, calorie, protein, fat, carb) are based on the U.S RDA numbers. Where can I find out those numbers? If they weren't, then what are they based on? Also, you may want explain "the remaining nutrients (that are) the Daily Values on US food labels" better. I spent a rough few minutes figuring out what that meant. Am I to assume that those are the recommended nutrients for women my age or for every one in general. At first I thought it might have to do with my particular profile.

Thanks for the feedback.

The calories, protein, fat, sat fat and carb are calculated using your current physical data and are not based on the old USRDA food label. If you weight changes, these nutrient amounts will change. Also, whether or not you chose to maintain weight, gain or lose, the numbers would also be higher or lower.

I will re-read the DV explanation and try to clarify. The remaining nutrients are the amount of nutrients recommended by the % Daily Value on the new food label and are the same for every adult. Actually, the new Daily Value for vitamins and minerals on the new food labels contain the same recommended amounts for these nutrients as the USRDA on the old food label. These numbers are the highest nutrient amounts from the 1968 RDA's. In other words, the % Daily Value should cover the nutritional needs of all adults, male or female for any age over 19.


After sending you my previous e-mail question, I found the sports nutrition forum at your site. Now this is more like what I was looking for.

I figured I might add some vitals and see if you could give me a rough estimate of a daily target calorie intake. I am 30 years old, weigh 125lbs and am 5'3". I would like to get up to swimming 3 times a week, 3000 yards or 1 hour per workout. I would also like to do at least one session of weight training. What do you think?

Why not give the Healthy Body Calculator a spin and find out yourself?


I have been trying to figure out what my healthy body weight should be. I was recently informed that you should not go by your body weight but by your total body fat. I currently am about 150 lb. with total body fat of 22%, is this considered "healthy"?

I have a major fear that I will regain the 66 lb. that I lost nearly a year ago. My diet consisted of 45-60 minutes of aerobic exercise at least 6 times a week, less than 20 grams of fat each day, about 80 oz. of water and one (37.5 milligrams) phentermine pill. The weight came off in about four months. At one point in time I had gotten down to 145, but I have also reached 165 in recent weeks. I am trying to get back down to 145 because I feel comfortable at that weight. I had one prescription left over for the phentermine and I began the ritual again. Now I have 13 pills left and 10 more lb. to go. The concern is that I have tried to stop taking the pills and have had several strange things happen, for example if I don't take the phentermine one day, the next morning I can not hear my alarm, I wake up and feel tired, grouchy and to put it bluntly.....a real*!#@# - I am scared that if I do not take the pills I will not focus on my diet and in turn will not loose the 10 lb. I hope too! Is there anything I can do to give my body some extra energy?

I am sorry I take so long to get to the question but I wanted to make you as informed as possible about my weight history. Thank you very much.. I am eagerly awaiting a response!!

Congratulations on the weight loss and exercise program. First try out the Healthy Body Calculator and find your healthy body weight. Is 145 pounds a realistic weight goal? Your body fat (same as BMI) seems healthy for a woman so your body weight at 150 is probably proportionate to your height. Your exercise program would provide you with increased energy so I would recommend continuing your routine. Have you considered adding weight training?

The symptoms you describe when forgetting to take phentermine are not surprising since one of the drug's side effects is sleeplessness. So when you forget to take a pill, your body remembers to sleep more.

Generally, when people quit taking phentermine, fenfluramine or a combination of the two, weight gain occurs according to current research. I would not suggest you rely on phentermine for a long-term solution to your weight as weight loss seems to plateau after 6 months. Long-term weight loss requires lifestyle changes that include reduced food intake, exercise and food intake diaries. Research has shown that a 10 - 15% reduction in weight, significantly decreases obesity-related illness. Is 145 pounds a realistic goal for you?


Could you please include a weight / height chart in your web site? Thanks!

Here is something better. Try my new feature the Healthy Body Calculator. It will calculate your healthy weight based on your height and tell you how much of what nutrients to eat.




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