The prevalence of the number of Americans, men and women, overweight or obese, has risen steadily since the 1980s. What was once considered an ‘average’ weight at one time no longer applies to the population of today.
But, while the average weight of Americans has increased, what is considered a healthy weight, particularly for men? Excess body weight is a main contributor to many health problems, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, sleep apnea, and chronic kidney disease. In some cases, it’s reasonable to consider that maintaining a healthy body weight may dodge these diseases altogether.
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), more than 1 in 3 men (34.1%) are overweight, and more than 2 in 5 adults (42.4%) have obesity, including severe obesity. Because of the number of men who are at an unhealthy weight, many likely are unsure of what a healthy weight for men should be.
What is the average weight for American men?
Data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that, on average, men in the U.S. weigh 199.8 pounds. This number has gradually increased since the 1980s. But keep in mind, this is an average weight, not an ideal or healthy weight for all men.
How to figure out what is a healthy body weight for men
Man or woman, every one of us has an ideal body weight. Ideal body weight is considered ‘healthy’ in terms of the amount of muscle mass compared to fat mass. Generally, if a person has a higher muscle mass composition to fat mass, they likely will have better protection from developing life-altering medical conditions. But, on the other hand, having too little body fat is also harmful and could potentially affect a man’s fertility, immunity, and heart health.
A man’s total body composition is the best way to know what a healthy body weight should be. Body composition can help doctors determine the level of health of an individual. For example, two men could be the same age, height, and weight, yet one man may have more body fat and less muscle, putting him at risk for health issues. In addition, not every man alike in terms of age and height should necessarily weigh the same based on factors such as frame size or athleticism.
Below are recommendations from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition of what is considered a healthy body fat percentage for men:
- Men ages 20 to 39 – 8% to 19%
- Men ages 40 to 59 – 11% to 21%
- Men ages 60 to 79 – 13% to 24%
Body mass index (BMI) is another rough estimate of body fat percentage but has limitations. For example, a man who is a professional football player with a high muscle mass, likely will have a high BMI above 30, even though his body fat percentage is low.
Here are the ranges for BMI:
- 18.5 to 24.9 – Normal weight
- 25 to 29.9 – Overweight
- 30 or higher – Obese
Other methods that can get an approximate body composition include the following:
- Dual x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scan: The DEXA scan utilizes low-level x-rays to obtain the composition of body fat, muscle, and bone within the body.
- Bioelectrical impedence: This method emits low-level electric currents throughout the body. As it does so, it will measure the speed at which it travels. This method is much cheaper than a DEXA scan and likely not as accurate.
- Quick method for determining ideal body: Here’s a method providing a quick answer for determining ideal body weight for your height and frame size – here are two different links, one and two, to determine frame size. This method does not determine body composition.
For men, for the first 5 feet of height, a man should weigh 106 pounds, plus or minus 10% based on frame size. A large-framed man should add 10 pounds while a small-framed man would subtract 10 pounds. For each inch over 5 feet in height, a man should add 6 pounds. For example, men 5 feet, 10 inches tall, should weigh160 pounds, plus or minus 10% based on frame size. Large-framed men should weigh approximately 176 pounds while small-framed men should weigh approximately 144 pounds.
However, all men are different based on genetics, athleticism, and overall body composition.
- Managing a healthy body weight
The benefits of achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight are worth it. The risk of chronic diseases is reduced allowing a person to participate in most activities they enjoy. In addition, maintaining a healthy body usually means taking fewer medications, less doctor visits, and a longer life span.
Here are important strategies to help achieve a healthy body weight:
- Set realistic goal weights.
- Choose healthy foods 90% of the time.
- Exercise most if not all days of the week.
- Get enough rest.
- Have a stress plan.
Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy. Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncolo gy and prostate cancer 911.