Healthy weight is defined as a Body Mass Index (BMI) equal to or greater than 19 and less than 24.9 among all people aged 20 or over. To determine body mass index, divide weight in kilograms (2.2 lbs. = 1 kg) by height in meters squared (39.4 ins. = 1 m). Click here to check your BMI.

A woman possessing a BMI equal to or greater than 25 and less than 29.9, is considered overweight with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease and type II Diabetes.

Obesity is defined as a body mass index (BMI) equal to or greater than 30, which approximates 30 pounds of excess weight. This category can be further divided into three depending on the body mass index, Mild Obesity with a BMI of 30-34.9, Moderate Obesity--35-39.9(BMI) and finally Extreme Obesity with a BMI of >40.

Another common way of analyzing body weight is the use of Waist-to-Hip ratio, WHR is calculated as follows:
WHR = Waist Circumference Hip Circumference, a desirable WHR is <0.80 for women. A waist-to-hip ratio of 1.0 or higher is considered "at risk" or in the danger zone for undesirable health consequences, such as heart disease and other ailments connected with being overweight.

Measuring waist circumference is a common measure used to assess abdominal fat content. The presence of excess body fat in the abdomen, when out of proportion to total body fat, is considered an independent predictor of risk factors and ailments associated with obesity. Women are at risk who have a waist measurement greater than 35 inches (88 cm).

Other tools available for analyzing body weight are:

Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA), Bioelectrical Impedance Spectroscopy (BIS), Bone Dimensions, Circumference Measurements, Computed Tomography (CT), presence of Creatinine in blood and urine, Dual-energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA), Hydrodensitometry, Isotope Dilution, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Measuring methylhistidine in the urine, Near Infrared (NIR) Interactance, Neutron Activation Analysis, Skinfold Calipers, Ultrasound, each having their share of advantages and limitations.

Excess weight places women at risk of developing serious health problems. A successful weight loss and healthy weight management depend on sensible goals and expectations. Most overweight women should lose weight gradually. For safe and healthy weight loss, try not to exceed a rate of two pounds per week. Sometimes, people with serious health problems associated with obesity may have legitimate reasons for losing weight rapidly. If so, a physician's supervision is required.