Research indicates that women 5 feet 5 inches should weight 119 pounds. Upsetting to me.

I heard on the news and have been watching my newsgroups about the latest and “greatest” research indicating that women 5 feet 5 inches should weigh 119 pounds. The research claims that the weight standards published currently are far too “lenient”. This is extremely upsetting to me. I am 5 feet 5 inches and when I weighed 125 to 130 pounds I felt really great. I did feel fat even then, but I’m trying to get back to that weight. My body fat was in the low 20%s. It’s discouraging to hear this and I’m wondering what YOU think of these new discoveries.

I know that when nutrition or health research results appear in the media that it can be confusing to the public, especially when some information seems to conflict with current practice. I think the new weights may be a little low but are based on mortality (death) and morbidity (illness) studies. Unfortunately, it didn’t help our DNA when the skinny cave people died off and didn’t pass on their skinny genes.

There are several methods of determining “healthy body weight”. One weight standard currently published was the Metropolitan Height Weight Tables. There are separate tables for adult males and females, each divided into small, medium and large body frame. Body frame should be measured at the elbow with a caliper by measuring the distance between the bones on either side then comparing that measurement against a table of norms. The table weights are the result of compiled, self-reported heights and weights for persons in the lowest mortality category and usually represent young adults who apply for life insurance. In other words, there is no medical exam to measure weights or heights. The tables merely report the changes in self-reported physical information each time that the tables are published. On the current table, a woman of your height small frame is 117 to 130 pounds, medium frame 127 to 141 and large frame 137 to 155. Your goal weight is within normal ranges no matter what size body frame you have.

Another is based on a formula for height, which is gender dependent. For a female start at 100 pounds and 5 feet. For every inch over 5 feet add 5 pounds. Next, compute 10% above and below this number to get a weight range. You should weigh 125 pounds + or -13 pounds or 112 to 137 pounds. So you are fine at 125 to 130 pounds.

Another method is to calculate a weight goal based on body fat content which norms are sex-dependent. If you were in the low 20’% body fat at 125 to 120 pounds, your percent body fat is very good. Normal body fat for a woman is 20 to 24%. Some women have found that when their body fat gets below 18% they quit menstruating. hormones are made from fat. Also, women are likely to gain 3 to 5 pounds in the week prior to their menses when their body prepares for a possible pregnancy.

The last method is a calculation of body mass index (BMI). Check out the Healthy Body Calculator®. Normal body mass for women is less than 25. You are OK on this calculation too.

Body weight fluctuates with the hydration levels in your body, which are normally around 60%, time of day, whether your bladder and bowel are empty. Relax, your body weight at 125 to 130 pounds is fine.