Healthy Weight and BMI Range for Seniors

You might have heard the word BMI, but you are not sure what it exactly means. BMI (Body Mass Index) is one of the indicators of our overall health. The BMI of an average person ranges between 18 and 24.9. A BMI of more than 25 shows that the person is overweight, while over 30 indicates obesity. These numbers are for adults, and the numbers vary a bit for seniors. In today’s article on Living Maples, we will discuss BMI for seniors.

As noted earlier, the BMI for seniors is different from that of adults. Usually, people with a BMI of 25 or greater are categorized as overweight or obese, and they are suggested to shed some pounds. However, such a recommendation is not quite right for a senior and might lead to unwanted consequences. Studies indicate that BMI ranges are different for seniors.

How to Calculate BMI

It is easy to calculate BMI and all you need is your height and weight. The good news is that you can use a BMI calculator to know your BMI. If you have no access to any of these calculators, you can do the math yourself.

BMI = Weight (kg) / [Height (m) x Height (m)]

As you see, BMI is determined by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared. 




The Effects of BMI on Seniors

Although it has a simple formula, it is relatively easy to calculate; however, it can significantly influence us. Higher BMI makes us susceptible to diseases such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, etc. These issues are not just for seniors, and they apply to all age groups. 

Hence, one can posit that there is a direct relationship between BMI and seniors’ health factors. These findings have led some experts to suggest a BMI between 25 and 27 for seniors. Below you can compare the BMI of adults and seniors. 

Category BMI Range for Adults BMI Range for seniors
Underweight <18.5 <23
Normal 18.5 – 24.9 23 – 30
Overweight 25 – 29.9 > 31
Obese >30  
BMI range for adults and seniors

As you can notice, the “normal” for older adults (23-30) is in the “overweight” category in the standard BMI table for adults.

BMI for seniors

The difference between adults’ and seniors’ BMI can lead to different suggestions regarding maintaining a healthy weight. Since the range of 25-29.9 is considered overweight for adults, most of the time, the elderly are advised to lose weight if they have a BMI in this range, which is a suggestion that must be ignored immediately. It is worthy to note that seniors’ weight loss can lead to muscle loss since they have less muscle mass than their younger counterparts. Hence, the fact is that encouraging weight loss to “normal” based on the standard BMI ranges for adults (18.5-24.9) can increase the risk of mortality and poor health outcomes in seniors. So, it is necessary to stop persuading the elderly to lose weight while having a normal BMI.

You can see the weight chart for seniors females below and see what the ideal weight is for you.

Weight Chart for Seniors Female

Height (feet & inches) Weight (lbs) Height (centimetres)
  Small Frame Medium Frame Large Frame  
4′ 10″ 102-111 109-121 118-131 147cm
4′ 11″ 103-113 111-123 120-134 150 cm
5′ 104-115 113-126 122-137 152 cm
5′ 1″ 106-118 115-129 125-140 155 cm
5′ 2″ 108-121 118-132 128-143 157 cm
5′ 3″ 111-124 121-135 131-147 160 cm
5′ 4″ 114-127 124-138 134-151 162 cm
5′ 5″ 117-130 127-141 137-155 165 cm
5′ 6″ 120-133 130-144 140-159 167 cm
5′ 7″ 123-136 133-147 143-163 170 cm
5′ 8″ 126-139 136-150 146-167 172 cm
5′ 9″ 129-142 139-153 149-170 175 cm
5′ 10″ 132-145 142-156 152-173 178 cm
5′ 11″ 135-148 145-159 155-176 180 cm
6′ 0″ 138-151 148-162 158-179 183 cm

Do you need to know the ideal weight of a 70 years old man calculated from different heights? Use this table to check if you’re the right weight for your height.

Weight Chart for Seniors Male

Height (feet & inches) Weight (lbs) Height (centimetres)
  Small Frame Medium Frame Large Frame  
5′ 2″ 128-134 131-141 138-150 157 cm
5′ 3″ 130-136 133-143 140-153 160 cm
5′ 4″ 132-138 135-145 142-156 162 cm
5′ 5″ 134-140 137-148 144-160 165 cm
5′ 6″ 136-142 139-151 146-164 167 cm
5′ 7″ 138-145 142-154 149-168 170 cm
5′ 8″ 140-148 145-157 152-172 172 cm
5′ 9″ 142-151 148-160 155-176 175 cm
5′ 10″ 144-154 151-163 158-180 178 cm
5′ 11″ 146-157 154-166 161-184 180 cm
6′ 0″ 149-160 157-170 164-188 183 cm
6′ 1″ 152-164 160-174 168-192 185 cm
6′ 2″ 155-168 164-178 172-197 188 cm
6′ 3″ 155-168 164-178 172-197 190 cm
6′ 4″ 162-176 171-187 181-207 195 cm

Does BMI Increase with Age?

BMI incorporates weight and height for adults ages 20 years and older, but it does not take age or sex into account.
A woman having the same BMI often has more body fat than a man. Similarly, people over the age of 65 tend to have a greater percentage of body fat than people under 35.
Due to these reasons, BMI may not provide the detail needed to determine whether a person’s weight is healthy.

Potential Dangers of Low BMI for Seniors

An extensive study was conducted on seniors’ BMI, and the results were published in 2014 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The study compared the effects of low and high BMI on seniors’ health and the mortality rate. The results were quite shocking. Contrary to popular belief, for seniors over the age of 65, being underweight increases the risk of death but being overweight does not.

Several studies found that having a low BMI (underweight) at age 65 led to poor health and shorter life expectancy. Being overweight or obese at 65 was only rarely linked to worse health outcomes or lower life expectancy than those at a healthy weight at age 65.

It is interesting to note that generally, seniors who were overweight or obese enjoyed better health than seniors with a lower BMI. However, it does not mean that seniors should gain weight to have a better health status.

Challenges and Health Risks

As said earlier, though having a higher BMI is not as dangerous as being underweight, it doesn’t endorse that seniors should ignore excess weight. Being overweight poses several dangers for seniors, including blood pressure, stroke, osteoarthritis, and breathing disorders. It is challenging to choose an ideal BMI or weight range for seniors over 65; however, it is essential to make sure that seniors are not losing weight due to an illness or poor nutrition, which can cause severe damages to their health.

Losing weight and entering the “underweight” category of BMI make seniors susceptible to various illnesses and decrease recovery from illness.

Maintaining an Ideal BMI

We should remember that the ideal BMI is not the same for everyone, and several factors influence the target BMI. For instance, seniors with diabetes should lose weight, but losing weight for seniors with conditions such as anemia may be life-threatening.

Generally, ageing comes with health issues, changes in activity level, and metabolic changes, making it challenging to maintain a healthy BMI. Hence, it is essential to ask a nutritionist to set specific caloric goals for you. It is also necessary to take mineral and vitamin supplements suitable for seniors to have better health while maintaining your ideal weight.

It is important to recognize any weight loss in seniors to correct it before it turns into a significant problem. Weight loss also indicates that you are not achieving your age’s ideal dietary goals or having a health issue that needs immediate attention. 

Tips on Reducing the BMI of Seniors

Since seniors’ BMI is measured only by weight and height, one must lose weight to reduce BMI. You can reduce your BMI by following these steps:

Better Food Choices

Eating low-calorie, high-fibre foods such as fruits and vegetables, beans, and whole grains can help you lose weight. According to the USDA, variety, nutrient density, and the amount consumed per meal are essential in weight loss. It is best to reduce the amount of sugar, unhealthy fats, and salt in your diet to maintain your health. In general, limit your salt intake to 2,300 mg and sugar and processed fats to less than 10% of your total daily calorie intake.

BMI for seniors

Regular Exercise

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (such as walking). It also recommends 75 minutes of strenuous aerobic exercise (such as cycling, swimming, running, or brisk walking) per week. Furthermore, to improve your health, you can increase the duration of moderate-intensity aerobic activity to 300 minutes or intense aerobic exercise to 150 minutes per week.

Enough Sleep

Seniors need seven to nine hours of sleep a day. Chronic sleep deprivation or poor sleep quality can increase high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, and obesity. In general, one can say that elderly sleep disorders and obesity are directly related.

Stress and Anxiety Management

Stress is indispensable, and not all stresses are harmful. But acute stress puts pressure on the body. It increases the risk of obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and mental disorders such as anxiety and depression. Stress management techniques, including regular exercise, yoga, meditation, emotional support from friends and family, and talking to a counsellor, can reduce seniors’ BMI.


Getting to your target BMI can be more challenging as you age due to health issues, changes in activity, medications, and altered metabolism. If you want advice about caloric goals or need vitamin and mineral supplements, a nutrition specialist can help.
The key is to recognize weight loss as soon as it occurs and to take steps to stop it before it becomes a significant problem. If you are experiencing weight loss, it could be because you are not meeting the ideal dietary goals for your age group or because of a health concern that merits investigation.

‏Disclaimer: ‏Please read it carefully

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9 months ago

Very useful. I have seen many seniors trying to lose weight according to the standards set for younger adults. This can be seriously harmful to some of them, so I’m glad to see such articles trying to educate our seniors and make them aware of the weight standards especially set for them.

Reply to  Emily
1 month ago


Last edited 1 month ago by Houriya
7 months ago

I calculated my BMI range, and it’s 25. but I’m obviously not fit. I’m 59, and I feel even heavier than when I was pregnant with my twins. The worst thing is, even though my BMI is normal, I know I have very little muscle mass. 

Reply to  Rebeca
5 months ago

Do you work out? I’m sure an exercise routine and a healthy diet can give you a more muscular body, plus you’re going to feel better. I recommend seeing a professional trainer and a nutritionist. 

7 months ago

Thank you. I really appreciate the calculator. I think it’s very important to choose our diet and watch our daily food intake based on our bodies. I honestly think getting in shape is an art you need to master and a subject you need to research and study.

6 months ago

I used to think the lower BMI for seniors (of course in the normal range), the healthier they are. But, reading this article gives me a brighter insight into how low BMI can be potentially dangerous for seniors. I think I should stop excessive losing weight 🙂

Reply to  john
5 months ago

I don’t believe a set of numbers, and some formula should matter as long as you are healthy. I’ve always been skinny, even though I work out and eat at least four healthy meals daily. I don’t think I should be worried about something called the bmi range!

Lisa Green
Lisa Green
Reply to  Loretta
5 months ago

If you are healthy and get your checkups regularly, I guess you are right. But I think it’s best to consult your doctor or physiotherapist. BMI is an important factor, especially as we get older.

6 months ago

I disagree with this article because I know one of my friends with high BM!, because he always eats fatty foods such as fast foods or red meat! But he didn’t have any problem with his health! even he didn’t have a problem with his heart or blood pressure. I think if we have a fun lifestyle, we never face health troubles.

Reply to  Mateo
5 months ago

Health problems don’t show themselves instantly, my friend. I hope your friend stays fine all the time but what about when he’s 50 years old? Would he still have no health issues if he keeps his unhealthy diet by then? Just because something affects us slowly, it doesn’t mean it has no negative effects.