Because weight talk is rampant and scales exist, it’s impossible not to wonder at one point or another: How much should I weigh?

Besides the fact that the answer is different for everyone—it’s based on your height, genes, lifestyle, and goals—there’s just one problem.

The measure fails to account for body composition, aka, how many pounds come from muscle mass versus body fat, organs, bones, tissues, blood, and water. In other words? It isn’t enormously helpful in assessing your health.

“Weight tells you little to nothing on the individual level,” says Philadelphia-based weight-loss physician Dr. Charlie Seltzer, M.D., suggesting that weighing yourself in the first place may be an exercise in futility.

Your doctor only does it to compare you to population-wide trends, a much better use case, he adds.

Most experts actually prefer using body fat as a health gauge. In excess, Dr. Seltzer says, it’s correlated to heightened risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and more.

With that in mind, here are better methods for adults to self-assess beyond the scale:

Body Fat Percentage

Although there’s no consensus for the definition of obesity based on body fat percentage, health risks appear to rise among women with more than 35 percent of it and men who have more than 25 percent.

Trained practitioners can estimate yours using a caliper that measures the thickness of your skinfolds at the triceps, thigh, and above the hip; an underwater weighing device; a smart scale, although Dr. Seltzer says their accuracy can be variable; and more sophisticated methods available only in laboratory settings.

You can calculated your body-fat here:

The Body Fat Calculator

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