Overview of average weight for women
Body weight is one way that doctors evaluate your health and measure your risk for various diseases. That’s because overweight and obesity can raise your risk for numerous health conditions including heart disease and stroke, certain types of cancer, and kidney disease.
But what is a healthy weight? And where do U.S. women weigh in among other women around the world?
What is the average weight for women in the U.S.?
Your weight will likely change as you age. Average weights of U.S. women across the adult lifespan are:
- Ages 20-39: 167.6 pounds
- Ages 40-59: 176.4 pounds
- Ages 60 and up: 166.5 pounds
Your racial and ethnic background plays a part in your weight too. Across racial groups, average women’s weights in the U.S. are as follows:
- Non-Hispanic Asian: 132.4 pounds
- Hispanic: 169 pounds
- Non-Hispanic White: 170.9 pounds
- Non-Hispanic Black: 186.1 pounds
What is a healthy weight for women?
Because your height and muscle tone impact your weight, the number of pounds alone is not enough to tell if you are a healthy weight. Body mass index (BMI) is one way to measure if you’re overweight or obese. The higher your BMI, the greater your risk for obesity-related conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers.
Your BMI is your weight in kilograms divided by your height in meters squared. Or you can just find an online BMI calculator like the one on the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s website. BMI ranges are as follows:
- Healthy: 18.5 to 24.9
- Overweight: 25 to 29.9
- Obese: 30 and above
Here’s a look at a range of heights and their healthy weight ranges based on BMI:
|Height||Healthy Weight in Pounds (BMI 18.5-24.9)|
|4 feet 10 inches||91-118|
|4 feet 11 inches||94-123|
|5 feet 1 inch||100-131|
|5 feet 2 inches||104-135|
|5 feet 3 inches||107-140|
|5 feet 4 inches||110-144|
|5 feet 5 inches||114-149|
|5 feet 6 inches||118-154|
|5 feet 7 inches||121-158|
|5 feet 8 inches||125-163|
|5 feet 9 inches||128-168|
|5 feet 10 inches||132-173|
|5 feet 11 inches||136-178|
|6 feet 1 inch||144-188|
|6 feet 2 inches||148-193|
|6 feet 3 inches||152-199|
|6 feet 4 inches||156-204|
BMI does have limits, however. It may overestimate body fat in athletes and people who are muscular and underestimate body fat in older adults and those who have lost muscle.
What are average BMIs for women worldwide?
Average weights and BMIs for women vary around the world. As of 2016, the Polynesian island nation of Samoa had the highest average female BMI at 34.3. Ethiopia had the lowest on record at 21.1. The average for U.S. women in 2016 was 29.8.
Here’s a look at average women’s BMIs in countries worldwide:
How has average weight changed over time?
Over the last 20 years, American women, on average, have steadily gained weight. In 1999, the average woman weighed 163.8 pounds. Today she weighs around 171 pounds. That weight gain has applied to white, black, and Hispanic women. Asian women have not seen much change in their average weight.
With weight gain, BMI goes up too. As of 2016, the BMI of the average U.S. woman was 29.1—up from 28.2 in 1999.
These trends aren’t unique to the U.S. Obesity has almost tripled around the globe since 1975. Nearly 4 in 10 adults worldwide were overweight in 2016. More than one in 10 was obese. If you are concerned about your weight and the health problems it could cause, talk to your doctor.
Rush University Medical Center: “How Much Should I Weigh?”
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: “Assessing Your Weight and Health Risk.”
CDC: “National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.”
BMC Public Health: “The weight of nations: an estimation of adult human biomass.”