Frame Size, How Much Does It Affect Your Weight?

Sometimes when you research a question, poof your answer is clear, defined, lots of material out there. That”s how I like it. This question was like searching for the Holy Grail. Not much information, not any studies proving definitively anything. Here”s what I found.

An average adult has 206 bones in their body. People can have different number of rib bones and bones in their hands and feet that make doctors average the number of bones in a skeleton. Bones themselves can have different densities. We know this from people who have thinning bones due to Osteoporosis.

The interesting thing that is substantiated on this quest is heavy people with a BMI over 33 never get Osteoporosis. They have greater bone density. Bone density is increased when you do activities that put stress on the bone structure like weight lifting or in this case carrying around excess weight.

So is there truth to the heavy weight, big bones, big frame? Not really. Bone weight depends on how much a person”s entire body weighs. Bones make up around 15% of a person”s total body weight. While people do have different frame size, most who weigh too much for their height do so because of excess body fat. Body builders are the exception. Remember muscle mass weighs more than the same volume of  fat and lean muscles make you look thinner (so if you have lots of muscles you may weigh more but look thinner).

Most weight charts take into effect your frame size. Many weight charts have 10 pound increments in each frame size; small, medium, and large. That is a 30 pound swing for any given height, so if you look at the chart and say to yourself, “I’m big boned and should weight more than that”, well, maybe 10-15 pounds.   Being big-boned or small boned doesn’t justify a 20-25 pounds differential from a normal size person. If you are truly convinced you are not overweight just big boned. Buy a body fat scale. These scales can actually measure your fat percentage. But don”t count on insurance companies changing your premiums; they strictly go by their charts. Remember to continue to treat your body with care so that it can help you to do all the things you enjoy.

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HealthStatus has been operating since 1998 providing the best interactive health tools on the Internet, millions of visitors have used our blood alcohol, body fat and calories burned calculators. The HealthStatus editorial team has continued that commitment to excellence by providing our visitors with easy to understand high quality health content for many years. Our team of health professionals, and researchers use peer reviewed studies as source elements in our articles. Our high quality content has been featured in a number of leading websites, USA Today, the Chicago Tribune, Live Strong, GQ, and many more.


  1. Maria Giordani Reply

    Hi, I did the measuring suggestion to find out what frame size I am and it indicated that I’m small frame. However, I do have a friend who is even smaller than me- I would say she’s extra small frame. Would she use the same calculation? Thanks!

  2. Holly Reply

    I am 5’4 female and weigh 147 pounds and fit into small, medium size clothing.
    However, compared to most women, I must weigh a lot for my height.

    The body weight charts say that I should be at a healthy weight of about 132 pounds. When I did weigh 132 I was really thin. I want to know why I would be can weight in so heavy but still have a slender appearance? I am athletic but I don’t lift weights. I could be considered stocky or have an athletic build.. could that be why?

    I do hate going on the doctor’s scales!

    1. Nicholas

      It’s not just bones that effect your weight outside of fat. It is also Muscles, organ size, etc. IE for someone with a natural chest size of lets say 46 inches, they are bound to have bigger heart, Perhaps more guts, etc. Also it is incorrect to say bones are 15% of mass…. Bones excluding the bone water weight are 15% of mass… but the water weight is approximately half the total weight of the bones… so bones are actually 30% of your body weight minimum… The range including water is actually 30 to 40%

  3. Mona Reply

    my husband believes that the density of ones bone effects the weight of that person. he says that someone might have think bones and look heavy boned but the density of their bone might not be as much as a person with thin frame. however, my believe is that there are 3 categories of body frame type and those are 1-thin boned 2- medium boned 3- heavy bone people. and there is an average number for each category in terms of bone density. and if ones bone density decrease it has to do with osteoporosis and not with weight loss.
    can you please advise in how this whole think works and explain fully, because my husband is very sure of what he believes and is trying really hard to make me understand but i don’t get his logic.

  4. D White Reply

    Hi Holly! I ran the BMI (Body Mass Index) calculator on this site and it says for someone your height you should weigh between 114- 145 pounds.

  5. Tim Reply

    Please stop saying muscle “weighs” more than fat. That makes no sense. That’s like saying 1 lb of lead weighs more than 1 lb of feathers. Say it’s denser. Is this supposed to be a science blog or what?

    1. Cynthia

      They mean that the same volume of muscle weighs more than the same volume of fat, not that a pound of one thing is more than a pound of another.

    2. Gloria

      A pound is a pound but when u look at a pound of fat next to a pound of muscle, the muscle is smaller. I lost 45 pounds just by changing my diet but I still have a lot of fat. I’m not able to exercise do to heath problems but it looks awful to me. No one sees the fat but they just comment that I’m to small. If I tone this up I wud be in a size 2 lol

    3. Rebecca Rankins

      Tim, I disagree with you. Yes, this is science based but that’s why the way it’s being explained is good. I get your point with regards to the difference between density and weight, but that’s exactly why they’re correct in their explanation. Most people seem to be more interested in their weight. The statement about a pound of fat vs a pound of muscle is exactly why people are confused. A pound of ANYTHING weighs exactly the same as a pound of ANYTHING else – even feathers!! The difference is that due to the density it takes more fat or feathers than muscle to equal a pound.

  6. Ben. Reply

    Hi, my concern is am small bodied yet am too heavy. am only 5.9ft yet am 105Kg, my BMI weight should be 80Kg. Am small bodied but my weight is too much compared to my size. is there health concern?

  7. anon Reply

    I’m 5 ft even, the average weight for my frame is 100-105lbs. My usual weight where I look healthy is between 120 and 125 because when I started losing weight and weighed 110-115, my ribs were showing above and below my breast, my hip bones were sticking out and everyone was worried that I was underweight and thought I was 90lbs or so until they saw me step on a scale. I’ve always had problems fitting some clothes because my shoulders are too wide to fit some jackets comfortably and my ribs have always stuck out a little bit more. Right now I weight 150 and look a little chunky (college has not been good to me haha) and my cousin who weighs the same and has the same exact height looks like she’s carrying more body fat on her belly and thighs (we have similar sized bread too) and she has expressed how jealous she is that I carry weight better, so it doesn’t necessarily have to be bone size, but on how far they stick out, because of my wider shoulders, pelvis, and ribs, I need more weight to keep from looking boney

    1. Poppy Ann

      a few years ago I decided to loose a little weight and managed to loose around 14 Lbs at which was exactly the centre of a BMI for someone of my height friends asked me if I was ok and said they thought I must have had cancer due to how thin I was and one said I looked like I had just come out of Auschwitz , the Bmi test works out ok for the average person but due to the huge range of peoples bodies only around 15 to 20% of people are average the rest are either above or below average.

    2. Esther R Lange

      Intresting! I am 4″10
      I weight 100 pounds and I look muscular and thin. Collar bones stick out and hip and ribs easily show if i suck in just a tad. Im also anorexic. It’s weird being I should weigh so much less yet i don’t being i have wide hips and shoulders and thick theighs. But i look less than i do! People would guess 95 …but i carry a lot of mass…. :( I hate bmi… Cause my body isn’t happy ay 100. I know I can function and my body is happier way less bones sticking out at 115! I’m also very active amd athletic! Lift very little!_ Zumba) . for mr to look skinny for my body i would die if i was 90 prob!! To have my bmi say 18

  8. Darren Reply

    Does the article take into consideration that bones get denser between a certain age? An average males bones doesn’t stop their density increase well into their 30s which would suggest a man who weighs 85kg at 25yrs will look bigger than the same weight at 35yrs due to bone density reaching its maximum. If in fact bone density increases between a certain age then weight must naturally follow!?

  9. curious Reply

    My scales say I’m 44% water, 28% muscle, 39.8% body fat. It just says 6.6 lbs in my bone mass. I’m clueless on all of the lbs, %, density and mass of bones. I just started a very healthy diet today that ice researched thouroughly. I’m 5’3 weigh more than I ever have in my life have a very rare muscle disorder and malignanant hyperthermia! Not a medical question just needed some clarity on all the measurements and what % is organs or is that calculated in?!

    1. Janelle

      Wow! Maybe im answering my own question! Im 5’3 ” i have malignant hyperthermie and paramyotonia. Two rare deseases. I weigh 163. Ive weighed 1
      18 mostly b4 i turned 35 then i gained! Went on weight watchers lost 47 lbs. Felt awesome! Now im sedentary and cant lose 1 lb! Im not motivated any more! Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  10. Jessica Reply

    What a crock of BS. This BMI BS never takes into consideration build properly. If I didn’t know any better the standards used for “body” were Asiatic or southern European but definitely NOT northern European. Not to mention, as Darren said, bone density CHANGES with age. BMI – the crock of fools.

    I am a large boned woman. My wrist is thick… My fingers barely touch, without any actual “fat” there, so that’d make the wrists about 5.5 – 6 inches thick given my hand is 6.25 inches long. I am also broad across the shoulders which makes finding clothing meant for women hard cause simply put if I straighten out fully most shirts / jackets are stretched across the shoulders. I have dad’s build which is old Germanic. Built like a tank. I’ve had a 180lb person fall across my back in the military after they slipped on a wet floor and I didn’t move an inch. From my days doing rowing at university my lower back muscles – some 8 years later – are still massive because I don’t readily loss muscle mass……. If I weighed 130lbs x 10% given for large bone structure – about 145lbs – for 5’2″ I’d look like a victim of starvation. I’d have absolutely NO muscle mass.

    1. Leandra

      I have felt like that for years. I have a brother that is a Dr and a sister in law that is as well. They both agree with you as well. They wondered who came up with these charts. I too have larger wrist size bones than any of my other female relatives. My ribs and hip bones currently protrude yet I am classified as obese. If i lost another 30 pounds I would look and feel like a POW. I get furious at each Dr visit with the reports and completely understand why our nation is so over run with depression and eating disorders. The teen population is rampant with cutting and other issues from the stresses put on them. I feel that these ridiculous charts need to be re-evaluated and reasonable for the people the are serving. Not a one-size-fits all. This 3 charts are adjusted to 10 lbs consideration bunk is someones baby pacifier for the idiots that can’t think.

    2. Poppy Ann

      I agree the BMI scale does not work for most people, myself when I left the army I was classed as overweight but I had very little fat on my body when I took a diving course the instructor told me I was an accident waiting to happen as even with a dry suit on I still did not float whilst everyone else had to wear weight belts to be able to descend all I had to do was breath out slightly and down I would go.

      I could lie on the bottom of the pool (20 ft deep)even with my lungs as full as I can manage without the dry suit even with a 6 mm wet suit I can descend without any weight belt and a 6 mm wet suit gives around 6 Lbs or buoyancy.
      Now I am classed as obese as I now have some fat around the middle my doctor mentioned that he cannot understand the result of my BMI test as I do not look that much overweight

    3. RDF

      Same here Jessica … but in comparison to me, you’re on the delicate side! My wrists are 7.5 inches around, and my hand is 7.5 inches long. Huge everything else too – 20 inches across the shoulders, size 10 feet, 58 kg lean-mass, etc – but only 5’5.5. Finding a jacket to fit is nightmarish for me too — I basically have to wear men’s (a women’s plus-size to fit my shoulders, swims on my body and looks awful); and as for strength, I could pick up my Dad and carry him around the room at 14; I could pick up my older brother to my shoulders, fireman-style; and as for Mum, I could lift her with one arm! I think we’ve both got some ancient Neanderthal DNA! ;)

      You’re so right! Using BMI alone is nonsense indeed, especially in anyone with significant muscle-mass and a very large frame ~ like me. On BMI alone, all the charts tell me that I should be 68 kg — which would leave me being just 14% body-fat!? … For an adult female in her reproductive years? Riiight!

      They really are utter rubbish (one must remember that the BMI scales were created in the 20s and 30s, where at least some childhood malnutrition was the norm, and women in particular didn’t work-out the way athletic women do today). Fitness-test results, body-fat percentage and placement, and hip-to-waist ratios are far more accurate indicators of health than BMI.

    4. kirstie

      I think it is a crock too. My wrist circumference is 7.25 inches. If I weighed in at the bottom of my BMI “normal” I would probably be dead. I had a fat test done when I weighed 173 lbs, and I was in the middle to lower range for a woman my size. I showed my health teacher the results of the test (she performed the test) and asked if I could get down to 150. She said I would be sick all of the time and unhealthy if I did. According to my BMI, my bottom range is 118 (for 18.5 BMI). Even adding in my large frame for a 20.1 BMI would put me at 132 lbs. For my upper range, a 24.9 BMI puts me at 164 lbs but I would be on the border of overweight. I’m tired of being held to this standard by the health industry.

    5. J, myers

      Amen, I’m a German American who , at 5’10” has a 32″ in waist, visible abs, and weighs 200lbs even, I’m beginning to think this bmi bs is just that … bs… i feel good and look like 160. Think of it as a carnival trick, where no one can guess you’re real weight.

    6. Andrew

      BMI is a load of hooey.
      I am 6’0″ and 245#. I have extremely dense bones, do lots of heavy manual labor, can shoulder and carry over 350#, leg press 900#, am not a body builder in the least.
      My BP is actually low (111/64), A1C is 5.2 and sugar is 107. Am 47 year old Caucasian/Native American male.
      Yet the BMI classifies me as morbidly obese.

    7. Stewie Stewart

      Thank you! Also German American and built like a tank. If I start dipping below 197, I look gaunt and angular. I don’t like feeling pokey. Imo, I look fantastic right around 200 (anywhere between 198-208 looks and feels good to me)

  11. Habib Reply

    Hello everyone

    I small boned frame man. My hands and feet are very small.

    I heard that small boned frame people are more likely to age faster and will experience more illness, regarding the bones, at older ages.

    Is it true?


  12. Leah Reply

    What is a good weight-loss program for large-boned (aka large-framed) men. I see that calculating proper weight involves adding 10% for large-boned folks, so I am guessing that 10% should be added to portion sizes and daily food intake, as well. But would rather not guess. Would appreciate some reliable info.

  13. Christopher wilmoth Reply


    Is it possible to have bones that are not denser due to an increase in size but just because they have more mass?

    I am 6ft, I weigh 94kg, I haven’t got much fat or muscle. I have never lifted any gym weights. I have never broken a bone in my body. Could I just have more mass to my bones as opposed to size?

  14. Carole Reply

    Well I am 5 ft 4 inches and weigh 10st 5-7 depending on time of day.
    At this weight if I was anymore I would be classed as over weight. However I fit into size 10 clothes – including ones that are not stretch material, and including some that I have had for about 15 years. With some clothes labels I’m a size 8. I know that ‘Vanity Sizing’ means that some clothes are deliberately given small sizes by manufacturers which would have been 1 or 2 sizes larger some years ago.

    I am very careful with my diet, and I look slim. My ribs stick out quite a bit. I am 54. When I was in my early 30’s before I got pregnant for the first time I weighed 10 stone and I looked skinny. I remember doctors and nurses being suprised I weighed ‘so much’ when I was weighed at surgeries and hospital appointments.

    I do have a large frame according to the criteria for measuring this. My sister is about an inch taller than me and weighs about a stone less, but doesnt fit into some of my skirts and trousers. She has always had a small frame and has also been diagonsed with osteopenia.

    So I would argue that your bone size does have a direct influence on how much you weigh, and I’m sticking with that! The BMI scale was developed in the 19th century. I’d have thought we’d have moved on a bit more since then!

  15. norman brodie Reply

    i am 79 years old 5ft 8.5″ 13stone 7lbs chest 44″ waist 38″ Wrist 8″ a lot of muscle I did martial arts for a lot of years still exercise 3 days 30 minutes a week my blood pressure is 130 /80 and I am supposed to be obese .

  16. Small Bones Reply

    It is true that a big skeleton does not weigh much more than a small skeleton. However, when you have a larger bone circumference, you will need more muscle and fat in area (not in loft) to cover around that bone. when you have a five or six foot body, that extra area of fat and muscle adds up by a lot, causing a big difference in weight between someone who has narrow bones and someone who has broad bones.

  17. Joshua Reply

    I weigh in at 210, but when I ask guys or girls in the gym how much they think I weigh they get it wrong all the time. One guy said 180. Another 175. When I tell them my true weight they ask me where do I put it… lol. I do get complements of clean look and strong shoulders. My strength always jumps once every 3 – 4 weeks. Use to fear failing my gains, but it happens in time. Some get stronger than others – some get leaner than others.

  18. Travis Reply

    My opinion, lol, is that in the United States, especially 25 years old and on, ?average? is overweight and people are so used to seeing overweight that when someone does actually fall in the middle of the BMI chart people start thinking they are sick or try to start feeding them. Take me for instance, 40 years old, 5?10?, naturally thin build. Weight is 160 lbs, BMI of 23. I have been working out and put on about 10 lbs of muscle, (while losing fat), if I wouldn?t have put on that muscle my BMI would be around 21 and people would be trying to force feed me bacon, lol. As it is people think I?m skinny, but the muscle definition is there and pretty obvious, so gives me more of a lean look rather than skinny.

  19. Mike Reply

    Bones make up around 15% of a person?s total body weight.

    Really? I was thinking more of about a third of this. My figure is 3.5%.

  20. John Cooper Reply

    Can body fat scales really measure your fat percentage though? I don’t think so.
    I think they measure your weight and that’s all.
    I have one and so as an experiment I set up a profile vastly different from mine.
    Instead of being an overweight, 60 year old, sedentary man, I created a profile for a 20 year old female professional athlete and then stood on the scales
    All the results changed dramatically.
    If they were really measuring the fat percentage, bone mass, muscle mass etc, then it would be exactly the same whatever your profile.
    If you have one try it for yourself and think about it. How can your skeletal mass suddenly leap a kilo?
    Don’t buy into the idea that they have some sort of magic that actually lets them measure all this: they clearly don’t.
    They app uses standard formulea and simply crunches the numbers.
    It is a useful guide that’s all.
    They absolutely don’t give you an accurate measure of anything other than your weight.

  21. Lynn Venable Reply

    My husband is 5’1”. He has the frame of a larger man with with muscles that could crack a walnut, even though he is overweight right now. Torques me off that that even though he he out of shape right now (he’s 67), I could still break my finger on his abs, chest or thighs because they are rock hard. I could body build for 10 years and not get my muscles that hard. Lol ANYWAY, the body weight charts would have him at 135. If he weighed that, he would look like a starvation victim. Literally! I guess the best way is to use the body fat scales.

  22. kevin Cavanaugh Reply

    No….what they r saying is….3lbs of muscle will b smaller than 3 lbs of fat because muscle weighs more….if the piece of muscle and the piece of fat were the same size…..the muscle would weigh more

  23. Minerva Busby Reply

    I’m over 65 yrs. old., 5’ with small bones. I’ve worked out regularly 3 – 4 times weekly for close to 30 years & enjoyed most gym sports for an additional six years when younger. Lately I weigh 127 – 130 lbs. & my cholesterol is over 300 which seems to be my only problem. I recall my Dr. telling me my best #’s re: check-up & blood test results were when I weighed 124 lbs. wearing small / medium petite clothing. I still wear the same size with the additional pounds, just look a little more filled out. I’m working on my lowering my cholesterol & maybe I’ll get my weight down a bit & if that works, I’ll figure that’s where I need to be.

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