Mathematical formula being used by young women in recent diet trend.

For a number of cultural and dietary reasons, the average person in Asia tends to be of slenderer build than the average person in the West. Carry that a step further, and it follows that the a person considered “slim” in many Asian nations would be considered extremely so in much of North America or Europe.

We recently looked at a beauty trend in China in which people have been comparing their hip-to-hip wait measurement to the width of a piece of printer paper. Meanwhile, in Japan, there’s a mathematical formula that’s seeing increased popularity among young women which determines what they refer to as their “Cinderella weight.”

A reference to the fairytale princess who’s traditionally depicted as beautiful and of slight build, the Cinderella weight (in kilograms) is calculated as:

Height in meters (squared) X 18.

Thus, a woman with a height of 165 centimeters/1.65 meters (roughly five feet, five inches) would have a Cinderella weight of 49 kilograms (108 pounds). By comparison, the Japan Medical Association recommendations for ideal body weight hold that a person’s weight in kilograms be equal to their height in meters squared times 22, which would work out to 59.9 kilograms (132.1 pounds) for the woman above.

Looked at another way, the Cinderella weight is some 18 percent lower than the association’s guideline. Switching countries and going by the U.S. government’s standards for Body Mass Index (a system not without its critics), the woman at her Cinderella weight would have a BMI of 18, which is right below the “underweight” cutoff of 18.5.

However, if said woman weighed just 1.4 kilograms (3.1 pounds) more, she’d be in the range of “normal” BMI (although at the bottom of said range), according to U.S. classifications, so taken in that light, the Cinderella weight may not be as shockingly extreme as it first appears. It’s also worth pointing out that the Cinderella weight’s name itself implies that it’s seen, even by those aspiring to it, as a mark of inarguable daintiness, and not necessarily a standard that brands one as obese for failing to comply with it.

And as with any discussion about weight management, it’s important to remember that body weight is but one of the many factors that determines a person’s overall health, and that a medical professional should be consulted before undergoing any extreme change in eating habits.

Sources: Excite News via Jin, Japan Medical Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention