Human body weight

The term human body weight is used colloquially and in the biological and medical sciences to refer to a person's mass or weight. Body weight is measured in kilograms, a measure of mass, throughout the world, although in some countries such as the United States it is measured in pounds, or as in the United Kingdom, stones and pounds. Most hospitals, even in the United States, now use kilograms for calculations, but use kilograms and pounds together for other purposes.

Strictly speaking, body weight is the measurement of weight without items located on the person. Practically though, body weight may be measured with clothes on, but without shoes or heavy accessories such as mobile phones and wallets and using manual or digital weighing scales. Excess or reduced body weight is regarded as an indicator of determining a person's health, with body volume measurement providing an extra dimension by calculating the distribution of body weight.

Average weight around the world

By region

Region Adult population
Average weight Overweight population /
total population
Africa 535 60.7 kg (133.8 lb) 28.9% [1]
Asia 2,815 57.7 kg (127.2 lb) 24.2% [1]
Europe 606 70.8 kg (156.1 lb) 55.6% [1]
Latin America and the Caribbean 386 67.9 kg (149.7 lb) 57.9% [1]
North America 263 80.7 kg (177.9 lb) 73.9% [1]
Oceania 24 74.1 kg (163.4 lb) 63.3% [1]
World 4,630 62.0 kg (136.7 lb) 34.7% [1]

By country

Country Average male weight Average female weight Sample population /
age range
Methodology Year Source
Brazil 72.7 kg (160.3 lb) 62.5 kg (137.8 lb) 20–74 Measured 2008–2009 [2]
Canada 80.3 kg (177 lb) Measured
Chile 77.3 kg (170.4 lb) 67.5 kg (148.8 lb) 15+ Measured 2009–2010 [3]
Finland 82.1 kg (181 lb) Measured
Germany 82.4 kg (181.7 lb) 67.5 kg (148.8 lb) 18+ Measured 2005 [4]
South Korea 68.6 kg (151.2 lb) 56.5 kg (124.6 lb) 18+ Measured 2007 [5]
Sweden 81.9 kg (180.6 lb) 66.7 kg (147.0 lb) 16–84 Measured 2003-2004 [6]
UKWales 84.0 kg (185.2 lb) 69.0 kg (152.1 lb) 16+ Measured 2009 [7]
United States 88.3 kg (194.7 lb) 74.7 kg (164.7 lb) 20+ Measured 2003-2006 [8]

Global statistics

Researchers at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine published a study of average weights of adult humans in the journal BMC Public Health and at the United Nations conference Rio+20.[9]

Estimation in children

An example of a half unfolded Broselow tape.

There are a number of methods to estimate weight in children for circumstances (such as emergencies) when actual weight cannot be measured. Most involve a parent or health care provider guessing the child's weight through weight-estimation formulas. These formulas base their findings on the child's age and tape-based systems of weight estimation. Of the many formulas that have been used for estimating body weight, some include the APLS formula, the Leffler formula, and Theron formula.[10] There are also several types of tape-based systems for estimating children's weight, with the most well-known being the Broselow tape.[11] The Broselow tape is based on length with weight read from the appropriate color area. Newer systems, such as the PAWPER tape, make use of a simple two-step process to estimate weight: the length-based weight estimation is modified according to the child's body habitus to increase the accuracy of the final weight prediction.[12]

The Leffler formula is used for children 0–10 years of age.[10] In those less than a year old it is

and for those 1–10 years old it is

where m is the number of kilograms the child weighs and am and ay respectively are the number of months or years old the child is.[10]

The Theron formula is

where m and ay are as above.[10]

Ideal body weight

Ideal body weight (IBW) was initially introduced by Devine in 1974 to allow estimation of drug clearances in obese patients;[13] researchers have since shown that the metabolism of certain drugs relates more to IBW than total body weight.[14] The term was based on the use of insurance data that demonstrated the relative mortality for males and females according to different height–weight combinations.

The most common estimation of IBW is by the Devine formula; other models exist and have been noted to give similar results.[14] Other methods used in estimating the ideal body weight are body mass index and the Hamwi method.

Devine formula

The Devine formula for calculating ideal body weight in adults is as follows:[14]

Hamwi method

The Hamwi method is used to calculate the ideal body weight of the general adult:[15]



Participants in sports such as boxing, mixed martial arts, wrestling, rowing, judo, Olympic weightlifting, and powerlifting are classified according to their body weight, measured in units of mass such as pounds or kilograms. See, e.g., wrestling weight classes, boxing weight classes, judo at the 2004 Summer Olympics, boxing at the 2004 Summer Olympics.


Ideal body weight, specifically the Devine formula, is used clinically for multiple reasons, most commonly in estimating renal function in drug dosing, and predicting pharmacokinetics in morbidly obese patients.[16][17]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Walpole, Sarah C; Prieto-Merino, David; Edwards, Phil; Cleland, John; Stevens, Gretchen; Roberts, Ian; et al. (18 June 2012). "The weight of nations: an estimation of adult human biomass". BMC Public Health. BMC Public Health 2012, 12:439. 12 (1): 439. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-439. PMC 3408371Freely accessible. PMID 22709383. Retrieved 12 July 2012.
  2. Do G1, em São Paulo (2010-08-27). "G1 - Metade dos adultos brasileiros está acima do peso, segundo IBGE - notícias em Brasil". Retrieved 2012-07-13.
  3. Encuesta Nacional de Salud 2009–2010 (p. 81)
  4. © wissenmedia in der inmediaONE] GmbH, Gütersloh/München. "Bauer sucht Frau aus dem Lexikon" (in German). Retrieved 2012-07-13.
  5. "The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition): Daily News from Korea - Average Korean Now Overweight". 2009-07-27. Retrieved 2012-07-13.
  6. "6 kilo mer man och 4 kilo mer kvinna" (in Swedish). Retrieved 2014-02-27.
  7. "The Welsh Health Survey 2009, p. 58" (PDF). 2010-09-15. Retrieved 2011-01-22.
  8. "Anthropometric Reference Data for Children and Adults: United States, 2003–2006" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-10-25.
  9. Data extracted from "The world's fattest countries: how do you compare?". The Daily Telegraph. 21 June 2012. Retrieved 22 September 2016.
  10. 1 2 3 4 So TY, Farrington E, Absher RK (June 2009). "Evaluation of the accuracy of different methods used to estimate weights in the pediatric population". Pediatrics. 123 (6): e1045–51. doi:10.1542/peds.2008-1968. PMID 19482737.
  11. Lubitz, Deborah; Seidel, JS; Chameides, L; Luten, RC; Zaritsky, AL; Campbell, FW (1988). "A rapid method for estimating weight and resuscitation drug dosages from length in the pediatric age group". Ann Emerg Med. 17 (6): 576–81. doi:10.1016/S0196-0644(88)80396-2. PMID 3377285.
  12. Wells, Mike (2011). "Clinical: The PAWPER Tape". Sanguine. 1 (2). Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  13. Devine, Ben J (1974). "Gentamicin therapy". Drug Intell Clin Pharm. 8 (11): 650–5. doi:10.1177/106002807400801104.
  14. 1 2 3 Pai, Manjunath P; Paloucek, Frank P (September 2000). "The Origin of the "Ideal" Body Weight Equations". The Annals of Pharmacotherapy. 34 (9): 1066–1069. doi:10.1345/aph.19381. PMID 10981254.
  15. Geriatric Nutrition Handbook. p. 15. ISBN 978-0412136412.
  16. Jones, Graham RD (2011). "Estimating Renal Function for Drug Dosing Decisions". The Clinical Biochemist Reviews. 32 (2): 81–88. PMC 3100285Freely accessible. PMID 21611081.
  17. van Kraligen, S; van de Garde, EMW; Knibbe, CAJ; Diepstraten, J; Wiezer, MJ; van Ramshorst, B; Dongen, EPA (2011). "Comparative evaluation of atracurium dosed on ideal body weight vs. total body weight in morbidly obese patients". British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. 71 (1): 34–40. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2125.2010.03803.x. PMC 3018024Freely accessible. PMID 21143499.

External links

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