The Frame Factor

By: Nikki Nies

The term BMI has become a standard to quickly decide one’s health based on height and weight, classified as either underweight, normal, overweight or obese. With any method, there are always flaws and using the BMI calculation is no different.  Another weight reference, which may not be as commonly known is Ideal Body Weight (IBW).  I don’t like that term “ideal.”  It can commonly be associated with the word perfect, which everyone knows isn’t completely attainable.

I believe we do need a comparative standard, but the wording of ideal is not the best way to go about it.  I’m 5’4 and based on the IBW calculation, ideally I should be 120 lbs.  I have never been 120 lbs. even at my smallest, which was 123 lbs.  My healthiest, steadiest weight is around 128 lbs.  As a nutrition major I understand why there may be the discrepancies in one’s actual weight compared to the comparative standard.  However, in a society where one’s weight is a taboo topic, we have evolved to the point where one’s numerical weight has a direct correlation of the quality of the person.

For everyday Americans they’re not considering the fact that muscle weight weighs more than fat or that every body’s BODY is made differently.  A factor that is often forgotten in regards to weight is one’s frame.  One’s frame can change the dynamics of a number of the healthy weight, broadening the range of an acceptable weight.

So how do you measure your frame….

This is a pass to let yourself “go” if you’re considered to have a large frame.  One’s frame size can provide a reference of more relevant standards that he or she can adhere to.  Check out the below tables to determine what your frame is after measuring your wrist in comparison to your height.

Women’s Frame Size Under 5’2” 5’2”-5’5” Over 5’5”
Small Wrist size less than 5.5” Wrist size less than 6” Wrist size less than 6.25”
Medium Wrist size 5.5”-5.75” Wrist size 6”-6.25” Wrist size 6.25”-6.5”
Large Wrist size over 5.75” Wrist size over 6.25” Wrist size over 6.5”
Men’s Frame Size Over 5’5”
Small Wrist size 5.5-6.5”
Medium Wrist size 6.5”-7.5”
Large Wrist size over 7.5”

So, what does your frame say about you?  It indicates the structure of your skeleton, distribution of body weight and the thickness of your bones.  Another way of looking at frame is “how one’s built.”  Compared to me, my mother has a large frame size.  She’s 5’9″, with size 10 feet and has never been less than a size 12 .  However, she’s one of the healthiest people I know and she embraces who she is.   I grew up eating healthy because of her nutrition knowledge.   Looking at her wrist, they’re proportional to her height and size, but naturally bigger.  Her frame indicates it’s okay she may not be her IBW 145 lbs.

I am hoping over time people don’t get caught up in the numbers that the scale or measuring tape say.  If you’re a couple pounds off, so what?  You know your body better than anyone else.  Don’t let numbers define who you are! It’s more important to eat and maintain a healthy lifestyle and if weight is your main concern, proper diet and exercise will balance out your weight and the pounds will naturally come off as well.   Take into consideration your frame, larger framed people will automatically be a little larger to compensate for their larger bones.  However, when one is overweight, looking at comparative standards can help lead one into a positive direction of healthier eating.

This is an electronic frame size calculator, what’s your frame size? How does your frame size change your view on your health?



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