American women aged 20 years and above weigh an average of 170.8 pounds (lbs), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

American women aged 20 years and above weigh an average of 170.8 pounds (lbs), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

While these numbers may be the average, they are not a measure of health. One of the commonly used indicators of well being is a person’s BMI, which stands for body mass index.

The BMI of the average woman in the U.S. is 29.8 which falls into the category of “overweight.”

In this article, we explore what the ideal weight range is for women, how can they best measure it, and what they can do to achieve their ideal weight.

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The following table shows the weight data for different countries:

CountryPercentage of adult male population with obesityPercentage of adult female population with obesity
United States36.47%38.16%
United Kingdom27.88%29.71%

In a 2015 review, the U.S. also had the highest rate of childhood obesity out of the world’s 20 most populated countries, with a rate of 12.7 percent, although Egypt topped the table for adults at 35.3 percent.

An “ideal weight” is where a person is at their healthiest and fittest in terms of what they weigh. There is a variety of different ways to calculate ideal weight ranges:


BMI is the most commonly used system for calculating ideal weight range, as it is relatively easy to work out. An individual can work out their BMI by applying their height and weight to the following formula:

  • divide weight in kilograms by height in meters
  • divide the answer by height again

For those people more familiar with using imperial measurements, there are various online calculators for working out BMI scores.

BMI calculations are the same for men and women, and BMI is seen as correlating fairly well with a person’s percentage of body fat.

Despite this, BMI can give a false picture, as muscle weighs more than fat. This is the case in certain populations, like elite athletes and bodybuilders.

Also, the appropriateness of BMI as a marker of body fat may vary across race and ethnic groups.

One study also criticizes BMI for underestimating the prevalence of obesity in both sexes and being increasingly inaccurate as women age.

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, BMI ranges are as follows:

UnderweightLess than 18.5
“Normal” weight18.5–24.9
Obesity30 or greater

Waist circumference and hip-to-waist ratio

Fat is spread around a person’s body but not all types of fat are equal.

The fat that can build up around someone’s midsection and turn into a beer belly or love handles can indicate a higher risk for related diseases that have potential to do harm to a person’s body.

The World Health Organization (WHO) notes that fat around the midsection is associated with an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and premature death.

Furthermore, it says calculating a person’s waist-to-hip ratio is a better indicator of their fat distribution and disease implications than BMI is.

A person can work out their waist-to-hip ratio by dividing their waist measurement by their hip measurement.

Women should keep their waist circumference at 80 centimeters (cm) or 31.5 inches or less, according to the WHO. Anything more is associated with an increased risk of related health problems, as follows:

IndicatorCut-off pointsRisk of health problems
Waist circumferenceMore than 80 cm (31.5 inches)Increased risk
Waist circumferenceMore than 88 cm (34.6 inches)Substantially increased risk
Waist-to-hip ratioEqual or more than 0.85Substantially increased risk

Body fat percentage

Body fat percentage is another way of calculating a person’s ideal weight. Unlike BMI, it differentiates between how much of a person’s weight is lean tissue and how much is fat.

In theory, body fat percentage is a good way of measuring ideal weight. Some accurate ways to measure body fat percentage include DXA scans (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry).

Nonetheless, the American Council on Exercise proposes the following body fat guidelines for women:

Essential fat10–13
ObesityMore than 32

A woman’s BMI and waist-to-hip ratio can help decide what is a healthy weight. But there are other factors to consider when finding what the ideal weight is for women.


Research shows that when people age, the amount of fat in their bodies increases while their muscle decreases. This means that people who want to stay lean may have to work harder on their diets and exercise when they get older compared to when they were younger.


Since BMI takes into account both height and weight, people who have the same BMI score but are of different heights will weigh different amounts.

Here’s how a healthy BMI range translates to different weights at different heights:

HeightWeight (BMI 19–24)
4’10”91–115 lbs
4’11”94–119 lbs
5’0″97–123 lbs
5’1″100–127 lbs
5’2″104–131 lbs
5’3″107–135 lbs
5’4″110–140 lbs
5’5″114–144 Ibs
5’6″118–148 lbs
5’7″121–153 lbs
5’8″125–158 lbs
5’9″128–162 lbs
5’10”132–167 lbs
5’11”136–172 lbs
6’0″140–177 lbs
6’1″144–182 lbs
6’2″148–186 lbs
6’3″152–192 lbs

Below are seven ways in which women can try to reach or maintain their ideal weight.

1. Do high-intensity interval training

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) involves circuits of exercises that use the maximum effort a person can manage. Each of these is followed by a cooldown period and then repeated.

Doing sprints in intervals is an example of HIIT.

Some research suggests that HIIT might fight fat in a variety of ways. It may also improve how the body handles blood glucose.

2. Cut out processed foods

As well as being less healthful than freshly prepared foods, processed foods are often laden with calories in the form of sugar and fat. Cutting out all processed foods is a great way to reduce calorie intake.

3. Stay physically active

Staying active burns calories and positively alters a person’s metabolism, helping them to maintain an ideal weight.

The U.S. government recommends that adults get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. This target might include brisk walking or playing tennis. Alternatively, they can choose 75 minutes of vigorous exercise every week, examples being jogging or continuous swimming.

4. Try intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting, also known as time restricted eating, refers to a person doing all their daily eating within a restricted time window, such as within 8 hours.

Some research has found that periodic fasting may help to promote weight loss and reduce insulin resistance.

5. Try a ketogenic diet

A ketogenic diet involves eating very few carbohydrates and utilizing fat-rich foods as the primary energy source.

Various studies show that a ketogenic diet may control hunger and cause the body to burn more fat than a standard diet.

6. Reduce portion sizes

Reducing portion sizes is one of the easiest ways a person can consume less calories in a day. Simply eating off a smaller plate can do the trick.

7. Stay hydrated

Staying hydrated is essential for overall health and may help to stave off hunger pangs. Sometimes, people can mix signals of thirst for those of hunger and have a snack when a glass of water would be satisfying.

Below are some commonly asked questions about the average American woman’s weight.

What is the average weight for a female woman?

American women aged 20 years and above weigh an average of 170.8 pounds (lbs), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

What is the ideal weight for a 5 4 female?

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute BMI calculator, a normal weight for a woman who is 5 foot 4 inches is between 108 – 145 pounds (lbs).

How much should a 5 7 female weigh?

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute BMI calculator, a woman who is 5 foot 7 inches should weigh between 118 – 159 pounds (lbs).

Many motivations might fuel a woman striving to achieve their ideal weight, including personal beauty standards, athletic performance, and health.

Weight issues and obesity are significant problems in the U.S. Although not perfect, measures including BMI, waist circumference, and waist-to-hip ratio can help a woman better understand her weight.

If people feel their weight is a health risk, or they have worries, such as raised blood pressure, it may be a good idea to consult a doctor.

Moderate and intense exercise, portion control, and occasional fasting, among other things, can help encourage weight loss.