1959's Body Standards: The Ideal Weight According To Height

November 15, 2023

In the world of health and wellness, trends come and go, but some discoveries have the power to transport us back in time while offering valuable insights.

Recently resurfaced is a fascinating chart from 1959, providing a glimpse into the historical perspective on the desired weight of men and women based on their height and body frame size.

The chart was titled "Desirable weight for men and women according to height and frame, ages 25 and over" and created by Metropolitan Life Insurance based on data from studies at the time.

healthy weight according to chart from 1950s

In an era well before the digital age and the rise of contemporary fitness influencers, this chart was a tangible reference point for those striving to meet societal expectations of physical well-being. The data, compiled over six decades ago, reflects the prevailing attitudes toward body image and health during a period that predates many of the modern weight management techniques and philosophies.

Most responses to the data align with agreement, although there are dissenting opinions.

"Hey! I'm a desirable medium frame man in 1959! That's a confidence boost I didn't know I needed today," one commenter wrote.

"As someone who got up to almost 250 lbs at 5'8" and subsequently lost almost 100 lbs, I can say with full confidence that this chart is still accurate," another user wrote.

"It's actually crazy to me because in my head it's dead accurate to the weight I've always liked myself at but everyone else around me has always said was too skinny," another person commented.

While some believe the chart to be precise, others argue that the prevalence of obesity in America makes the depicted figures appear unrealistic. The State of Obesity 2022 report, "Better Policies for a Healthier America," revealed that 40% of American adults are affected by obesity, and these rates persistently rise both on a national scale and among specific population groups.

In conclusion, the 1959 chart not only serves as a piece of nostalgia but also sparks conversations about the ever-changing narratives surrounding health, beauty, and self-acceptance.

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