Health is a major concern as health-related expenses continue to hit an all time high. More Americans than ever are struggling with obesity and the various health issues that come along with that. There’s a lot of information out there about what a healthy weight is, however not all of it is actually going to be accurate. Because of that, it can be difficult to dig through all the various opinions and find out what a healthy weight range for an adult male is.
There are many different factors that go into what makes the ideal weight for an individual and these are highly personalized answers that are going to vary from one person to another.
The Optimal Weight Range for Men: What the Research Says
There are many numbers that are thrown out there when people talk about a healthy weight range for adult men, but there’s a lot of problems with those ranges.
Conventional BMI charts were considered a researched way to get a weight range, but it turns out these old charts have fallen heavily out of favor in recent years and for pretty good reason.
Originally invented in the 1830s they were a good starting point as a rule of thumb but there was a lot that wasn’t understood about nutrition and health back then, and there are many things that have changed since (like the average healthy weight now that there are no food shortages).
In short, BMI charts have proven to be a poor true indicator of healthy weight ranges(1).
Height, frame, and body type do matter a lot when it comes to picking out a healthy weight range. While it is true that the majority of overweight people claiming to be big boned are actually still overweight, there is some truth to this, but not as much as most think. Bones are about 15% of a person’s body weight and according to Health Status there are 10 lb increments between frame sizes built into most charts(2).
In other words modern charts expect a large framed person the same height as a small framed person to weigh 20 lbs more and in the modern charts take that into consideration.
Modern charts have a better and more accurate range set up than the old BMI charts. A good example of these can be found at Health Checks System’s online website(3). The hardest part of this question is understanding there are going to be three ranges based on small, average, and large frame males, as well as different ranges for every single inch of height.
There are also thoughts that age can have some effect on these numbers.
While a full chart will take up plenty of space, we’ll list 5 heights and the numbers behind them will be maximum healthy weight for small, medium, and large frames in that order. Since the average male is 5’9 and 1/2 inches (4) we’ll provide the numbers for 5’9 and 5’10, as well as a good average for short men at 5’5, tall men at 6’0 and very tall men at 6’5.
Make sure to read after for an important caveat, as well.
5’5 – 140, 148, 160
5’9 – 151, 160, 176
5’10 – 154, 163, 180
6’0 – 160, 170, 188
6’5 – 180, 191, 210
The Caveat: Muscle weighs way more than fat. Heavily muscled people will throw their numbers way off. The far majority of pro athletes would be considered overweight or obese and all body builders would be considered morbidly obese based on weight.
Keep this in mind – but don’t overestimate your muscle mass if you’re not unusually active.
Best Way to Lose Weight if You’re Outside the “Healthy Range”
The best way to lose weight is going to vary based on how overweight you are as a person, your age, and if there are any other medical considerations that you need to take into account. However there are two main parts to any weight loss plan: diet and exercise.
How active are you? If the answer is not much at all then the starting point shouldn’t be dropping hundreds on a gym membership or thousands on some home equipment.
The first step is beginning to walk. Even 10 to 30 minutes can make a big difference daily if you are morbidly obese. The human body likes to move and walking is an exercise that is easy to scale up as your body will adjust quickly and become more and more capable with each walk.
For someone who is fairly active with just 10-20 lbs extra, trying out High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), weight training to put on more muscle, or new physical activities challenging new muscle groups are all great ways to get your motor running and kickstart the weight loss even if you have been working out consistently.
Nutrition is also really important. Cut out white sugar, junk food, alcohol, and reduce things with white processed carbs that have relatively little nutritional value. Watch for deep fat fried foods and look for a healthy eating plan that you are most likely to stick with.
Consistent weight loss and maintenance is virtually impossible for most people with exercise alone – diet must be a major part of it!
Diets That Can Help
If you’re in need of some help when it comes to how to eat healthy, there are plenty of diets and health programs out there that have been proven to work.
The bottom line is this – learn what it takes to eat health, follow a plan, and you should be on your way to getting your weight under control.
Diets and Pitfalls to Avoid
Always beware of anything that is referred to as a fad diet or a starvation diet. Many of these can seem to drop weight in the short term, but that weight is often the body cannibalizing water and muscle – which can make it harder to lose weight in the future. Less muscle means a lower metabolism. Fad diets aren’t healthy and they aren’t worth it.
Even people on a healthy diet often make the mistake of domino foods. If you can chew mindlessly on peanuts or peanut butter all day, you might be tossing 2,000 or 3,000 or more extra calories on a low carb diet that would otherwise work.
The same can happen for other types of diets: always beware of domino foods. Anything you can snack on mindlessly is best to measure out or avoid.
This is one of those questions that is always going to have a personalized answer based on a variety of issues. However by using modern charts as a general guideline, getting a physical that measures body fat, and watching that waistline (size of waistline is often a great rule of thumb for health) are all a great way to work towards getting to that healthy weight range for yourself.
Ben Corbin brings more than 20 years of experience as a health and wellness author and writer. He holds a master’s degree, has a passion for health and fitness, and is driven to provide readers with accurate and honest information. Learn more about Ben and the DadQuarters mission at our About page.