Social Issues

Ideal weight now 5kg more: 65kg for men, 55 for women

In News

  • The National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) recently released its report on Nutrient Requirements for Indians.


  • A previous expert committee in 1989 had taken the body weight and height of only well-to-do Indian children and adolescents.
  • Another expert panel in 2010 had taken nutrition profiles from only 10 states for computing reference body weights.
  • Both committees had arrived at the reference weights for men and women at 60kg and 50kg.

Report on Nutrient Requirements for Indians

Source of the data:

  • The 2020 panel takes into account data from all over India.
  • It relies on nationally representative datasets such as, National Family Health Survey 4 (2015-16), National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau (2015-16), World Health Organisation (2006-07) and the Indian Academy of Paediatrics (2015) to derive the reference body weight values.

Various estimates used for Nutrient Requirements:

  • For the first time, the NIN report contains the estimated average requirements (EAR) and also the tolerable upper limits (TUL) of nutrients. Until now, a single value, Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) was used for all nutrients.
    • RDAs contain daily nutritional intake levels that would be sufficient to meet the nutritional needs of almost all healthy individuals.
    • EARs are the average daily nutritional intake levels of the population.
    • TUL is the highest level of a daily nutrient intake that will most likely not lead to any adverse (negative) health effects in almost all individuals in the general population.
  • The report also gives details of the reference Indian man and woman.

About: Body Mass Index

  • Body mass index (BMI) is a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters. It is universally expressed in units of kg/m2.
  • It is generally used to broadly categorize a person as underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese.
  • Commonly accepted BMI ranges are underweight (under 18.5 kg/m2), normal weight (18.5 to 25), overweight (25 to 30), and obese (over 30).
Body mass index | medicine | Britannica

Findings of the report on Nutrient Requirements for Indians

Reference Indian man and woman:

  • The definition for reference Indian adult man and woman with regard to age was changed to 19-39 years instead of 20-39 years, which was fixed in 2010.
  • Weight:
    • The National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) has added another 5kg to the ideal weight of Indians.
    • The weight of an ideal or reference Indian man has now been increased to 65kg (from 60kg in 2010).
    • The weight of an ideal or reference Indian woman has now been increased to 55kg (from 50kg in 2010).
  • Height:
    • The height of the reference Indian man has now been increased to 5.8 feet (177cm), from 6 feet (171cm) in 2010.
    • The height of the reference Indian man has now been increased to 5.3 feet (162cm), from 5 feet (152cm) in 2010.
  • This will now be taken for normal body mass index (BMI).
  • As per the report, the current changes are due to the increase in nutritional food intake.
  • Another reason for the change is that data from rural and urban areas was taken into account this time as against only urban data in 2010.

Dietary recommendations

  • For dietary intake of carbohydrates, the report sets the estimated energy requirement at 100 grams per day for ages one year and above with a recommended dietary allowance of 130 grams per day.
  • For the first time, recommendations have been made for fibre, based on energy intake. As per the report, about 40 grams per 2,000 kilo calories of food consumption has been considered as safe.
  • The visible fat intake for individuals with sedentary (inactive), moderate and heavy activity has been set at 25, 30 and 40 grams per day respectively for an adult man and 20, 25 and 30 grams per day respectively for an adult woman.
  • The fat intake was common for both men and women in the 2010 recommendations.
  • Common salt intake remains at 5 grams per day with the sodium intake limited to 2 grams. An intake of 3,510mg potassium is recommended per day.

Calcium intake:

  • The calcium requirement proposed as RDA for an adult man and an adult woman is 1,000mg per day. It was 600mg per day in 2010.
  • For a lactating woman, an additional amount of 200mg is added. For post-menopausal woman, the recommendation is 1,200mg per day.

About: National Institute of Nutrition

  • Estb. in 1918 (as Berry Berry Research institute in a single room )
  • Research wing of ICMR.
  • The vision of NIN is elimination of all forms of malnutrition for a progressive healthy India.
  • The institute majorly conducts research in obesity, diabetes, food chemistry, dietetics, and micronutrient deficiency.


  • Periodic assessment of nutrient intakes, health and nutrition status of the population for optimal health, and assist the government and regulatory bodies in policy making.
  • Identify various nutrition deficiency disorders prevalent among different segments of the population.
  • Conduct operational research for planning and implementation of National Nutrition Programmes in the country.
  • Identify and study food and environmental safety challenges for providing scientific input for policy and regulations.

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