Am I a healthy weight?

Man stands on scales

You can find out whether your weight is within the healthy range by working out your body mass index, or BMI.

Another useful indicator of whether you are a healthy weight is to measure your waist. Put the tape measure about an inch above your belly button. 

A healthy waist measurement is:

  • Less than 31.5 inches (80cm) for women
  • Less than 37 inches (94cm) for men

What is BMI?

BMI is a useful tool for finding out if you have a healthy weight for your height. But remember, it is only a guide and is not accurate for some groups of people, like pregnant women or professional athletes. 

You can use the NHS Choices BMI Calculator to work out your BMI and find out which group you fall into.

content provided by NHS Choices



Is a healthy weight range the same for everyone?

In most cases, BMI is a useful tool. But it is not accurate for some groups:

  • Professional athletes and bodybuilders - BMI doesn’t distinguish between muscle and fat, so people with lots of muscle and low body fat could be classified as overweight or obese.
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women, who need higher fat reserves than usual.

Research also suggests that the range of healthy BMI and waist circumference should be lower for people of black, Asian, some Middle Eastern or mixed ethnicity. But most of this evidence comes from other diseases, like diabetes, rather than cancer.

For children and young people (up to age 18), there are gender and age specific ranges. 

If you have any questions or worries about your BMI or waist measurement, visit your GP for more advice. 

Last reviewed

Rate this page:

Currently rated: 3.5 out of 5 based on 71 votes
Thank you!
We've recently made some changes to the site, tell us what you think

Find a clinical trial

Search our clinical trials database for all cancer trials and studies recruiting in the UK

Cancer Chat forum

Talk to other people affected by cancer

Nurse helpline

0808 800 4040

Questions about cancer? Call freephone or email us

Share this page