The Question Your Scale Can’t Answer

If you need a number to help you judge whether your weight is healthy, skip the scale. Instead, try these two. (If your numbers are higher than they should be, be sure you’re following a healthy eating plan and getting regular exercise.)

Your waist size. Grab a tape measure. A waist that measures 34 1/2 inches or less for women or 40 inches or less for men is considered healthy. Anything higher could mean you’re carrying around the type of visceral belly fat that raises your odds for diabetes and heart disease.

Your body fat percentage. For this one, you’ll have to visit a doctor, clinic, or fitness center that offers body fat analysis. For women over age 60, a healthy body fat percentage is 24 to 35. For men, it’s 18 to 25 percent.

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