Measuring Up to Standard Weight Recommendations
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Measuring Up to Standard Weight Recommendations

How do you measure up against doctor-recommended weight guidelines? Try our expert's test.
Question: "I'm about 10 pounds heavier than I'm supposed to be, but trust me, it's all muscle! (My body fat is just 20 percent.) Do I still need to lose weight?"

Answer: Probably not. "It's very possible for someone who is fit and toned to be 10 pounds above standard weight recommendations, provided the weight is evenly distributed," says Ann Kearney-Cook, PhD, a psychologist and author of Change Your Mind, Change Your Body (Simon and Schuster, 2004). Excess pounds stored around the midsection can raise heart disease risk even in otherwise lean people.

To check, calculate your waist-to-hip ratio (waist measurement divided by hip measurement). If yours is below 0.85, you're in the clear, says Kearney-Cooke.


Originally published in Fitness magazine, May 2006.