Primary Navigation for the CDC Website
CDC en Español

 Healhty Weight - it's not a diet, it's a lifestyle
Email Icon Email this page
Printer Friendly Icon Printer-friendly version

Assessing Your Weight

If you've been thinking about your current weight, it may be because you've noticed a change in how your clothes fit. Or maybe you've been told by a health care professional that you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol and that your weight could be a contributing factor. The first step is to determine whether or not your current weight is healthy.

How can I tell if I’m at a healthy weight?

Adult Body Mass Index or BMI
One way to determine whether your weight is a healthy one is to calculate your "body mass index" (BMI). For most people, BMI is a reliable indicator of body fatness. It is calculated based on your height and weight.
To calculate your BMI, see the BMI Calculator. Or determine your BMI by finding your height and weight in this BMI Index Chart.

If your BMI is less than 18.5, it falls within the “underweight” range. Your health care provider can help you to achieve a healthier total body weight.

If your BMI is 18.5 to 24.9, it falls within the “normal” or Healthy Weight range. Keep up the good work!

If your BMI is 25.0 to 29.9, it falls within the “overweight” range. Therefore, you may need to lose weight, especially if you have two or more of the risk factors for diseases associated with overweight.

If your BMI is 30.0 or higher, it falls within the “obese” range. Therefore, you should talk to your doctor or health care provider about losing weight.

Waist Circumference
Another way to check your weight is to measure your waist size. Your waistline may be telling you that you have a higher risk of developing obesity-related conditions if you are:

Excessive abdominal fat is serious because it places you at greater risk for developing obesity-related conditions, such as Type 2 Diabetes, high blood cholesterol, high triglycerides, high blood pressure, and coronary artery disease. Individuals who have excessive abdominal fat should consult with their physicians or other health care providers to develop a plan for losing weight.

image showing how to measure your waistHow To Measure Your Waist Size1
To measure your waist size (circumference), place a tape measure around your bare abdomen just above your hip bone. Be sure that the tape is snug, but does not compress your skin, and is parallel to the floor. Relax, exhale, and measure your waist.

Note: The information on these pages is intended for adult men and non-pregnant women only. To assess the weight of children or teenagers, see Child and Teen BMI Calculator.

Want to learn more?

Losing Weight
If you’ve decided to lose weight, even modest weight loss can mean big health benefits.

Preventing Weight Gain
Choosing a lifestyle that includes good eating habits and daily physical activity can prevent weight gain.

The Health Effects of Overweight and Obesity
Being overweight or obese can increase your chances of developing certain diseases. Your health care provider can help you assess your risk factors and offer guidance on losing weight.

1DHHS, A Healthier You, page 14. Available online:

back to top

PDF Document Icon Please note: Some of these publications are available for download only as *.pdf files. These files require Adobe Acrobat Reader in order to be viewed. Please review the information on downloading and using Acrobat Reader software.

* Links to non-Federal organizations found at this site are provided solely as a service to our users. These links do not constitute an endorsement of these organizations or their programs by CDC or the Federal Government, and none should be inferred. CDC is not responsible for the content of the individual organization Web pages found at these links.

Page last reviewed: June 20, 2008
Page last updated: June 20, 2008
Content Source: Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion