A Healthy Body Weight is the Ideal Weight

Hence, for a healthy body weight: Thin does not always mean healthy! For a long time, a person's health was primarily assessed based on body weight and the Body Mass Index (BMI). Why this approach is only partially correct and how a healthy body weight can be much better assessed using different components is explained by Dr. Maximilian Schubert, Medical Director at MAYRLIFE Medical Health Resort Altaussee.

Healthy Body Weight and Body Mass Index

If there were a true measure to determine the health of a person plausibly and individually, it would considerably ease diagnostics and therapy in general. However, it would not take into account one thing: the individuality of the person.

While certain things apply to all people, such as the fact that our fingernails and toenails are naturally colorless or similar to skin color, most other aspects do not apply 100% to everyone. Every person is unique in their individuality, just as the fingerprint of every person is different. So no measure ever developed would fully do justice to all people in measuring certain parameters. This is also the case with the BMI – the Body Mass Index. 

The roots of this metric go back to Belgian mathematician Adolphe Quetelet (1796-1874), who wanted to develop a mathematical description of "normal." His formula, also known as the Quetelet Index, related the weight and height of an adult without considering body composition, sex, or age. In 1972, American physiologist Ancel Keys revisited the formula, named it "Body Mass Index," and used it as a standard for determining overweight, for which the formula has been used ever since. Although there are now separate guidelines for men and women, it still does not deliver a valid result. The body composition and age are still not considered.

Body Composition is Crucial for Healthy Body Weight

"One single measure for health simply does not exist," summarizes Dr. Maximilian Schubert, Medical Director at MAYRLIFE Medical Health Resort Altaussee. "What is much more meaningful is the balance between muscle mass, fat, and water. Specific values are unimportant. The ratio of these three parameters is what actually matters. The water content should make up 40 to 60 percent of the body, the muscle content should be around 30 to 40 percent, and the rest fat mass. "These are only rough guidelines, which can vary significantly when looked at individually," qualifies the health expert. 

There are many methods for measuring body composition. An ideal measurement should be done on an empty stomach. Some devices allow a last meal four to five hours before the measurement, while others require a fasting period of 12 hours. "Regardless of which method is chosen to measure body composition, it is important to have a comparative measurement with the same device ideally three to six months later – and/or annually," explains Dr. Schubert. 

If the body fat percentage is too high, it is necessary to find out the reasons for that. Excessive food intake is one thing, but a lack of micronutrients or emotional imbalance may also be reasons for excessive weight or health issues. At MAYRLIFE, various methods, such as functional myodiagnostics and blood tests to check micronutrient levels and hormone balance, are used to identify the root causes of an imbalance in body composition.

Feeling Good as the Greatest Health Pitfall

If you feel good in your body, it is definitely advantageous for your mental health but says nothing about your actual physical health condition. "Feeling good is the biggest pitfall for physical health because we trust in that the longest," notes Dr. Schubert, and goes on to mention diabetes, "which sneaks up on us so quietly that it is sometimes only noticed when it's almost too late. Moreover, humans generally have a very headstrong intellect, with which they are able to gloss over quite a lot of issues," the doctor suggests. 

Feeling good in your own body can indeed mean that you are really healthy, but that might only be half the story. "Just because someone says they're fine doesn't mean they're really physically and mentally healthy. To find out how someone is really doing, a certain sensitivity is necessary," points out Dr. Schubert, highlighting the close connection between body and psyche. A positive attitude to life can also significantly contribute to a person's physical health. "You can't separate the two. The body can still function perfectly, but mentally you might already be very impaired," points out Dr. Schubert, emphasizing the holistic point of view. Which makes it so important to bring body and mind into harmony.

  • “Ultimately, a psychological problem will always have an impact on the body in the longer term and vice versa.”
    Dr. Maximilian Schubert
    medical director
    at MAYRLIFE Medical Health Resort Altaussee

Physical and Mental Balance as a Gauge for Health

When asking yourself, "What is my ideal weight?", the Body Mass Index can be a good starting point for defining a certain goal, e.g., to lose weight. However, it does not have much significance in terms of actual health because healthy body weight is highly individual. If it were not so, every bodybuilder would be considered overweight, even though, in that person’s case, there is only a shift in the ratio between muscles and fat in favor of muscle. They are definitely not health-impaired due to too much fat mass. 

To realistically assess a person's health, it is much more revealing to analyze the body's composition with respect to water, fat, and muscles. Coupled with a person's mental state or attitude to life, much better conclusions can be drawn about their actual individual health.

"Of course, the exercise component, i.e., how much someone moves and whether they engage in targeted sports or not, should not be neglected in this context either," adds Dr. Schubert, completing his overall construct of good health.

Regardless of which medical program you choose at MAYRLIFE, we always work holistically and tailor the therapy individually towards gaining and/or maintaining better health. The MAYRLIFE experts provide a broad range of tips for implementing healthful measures in everyday life over the long term. Feel free to send us your inquiry, we are happy to advise you! 


Unknown author, unknown date, Body Mass Index (BMI) – Definition, Formula & Significance [German language], https://www.gesundheitswissen.de/ernaehrung/bmi-body-mass-index/, retrieved on 16.3.2021, 16:16

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