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How weight affects your health

Being overweight or obese for your height can increase your risk of many health conditions. Being underweight can pose health risks as well, but in the United States, carrying too many pounds is usually a bigger problem. It contributes to high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer.

You can tell from the height/weight chart below whether you are in the normal weight range for your height.

Healthy Weight Ranges for Men and Women

Height Weight (lbs) Height

Weight (lbs)

4'10" 91-119 5'9" 129-169
4'11" 97-128 5'10" 132-174
5'0" 97-128 5'11" 136-179
5'1" 101-132 6'0" 140-184
5'2" 104-137 6'1" 144-189
5'3" 107-141 6'2" 148-195
5'4" 111-146 6'3" 152-200
5'5" 114-150 6'4" 156-205
5'6" 118-155 6'5" 16-211
5'7" 121-160 6'6" 164-216
5'8" 125-164    

Another useful tool is a body mass index (BMI) calculator. You can find an online calculator from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention here. If you received a summary following your health screening, be sure to check for information about your BMI.

Do you need to lose weight to reduce your health risks? Here are some tips:

  • Check with your doctor before starting an exercise and/or weight-loss program.
  • When increasing your activity, start slowly. You might exercise three days a week for 20–30 minutes. Gradually increase the length of each session to 60 minutes, or increase the days to five per week.
  • Walking is a good choice for people who are beginning to be more active. It might help to listen to music or walk with a friend. Or find another type of exercise you enjoy then you will do it more often.
  • Drink more water; aim for eight glasses a day.
  • Eat when you are truly hungry, and not for other reasons such as boredom or stress.
  • Take simple steps toward a more healthful diet, such as limiting junk foods, fried foods and sugary snacks and desserts. Cut out sweet tea and soda.
  • Choose baked, broiled, grilled or steamed meats, lean red meat, skinless chicken and fish.
  • Limit fat-based sauces, gravy and condiments.
  • Enjoy vegetables and whole grains. Satisfy your sweet tooth with fresh fruits.
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