Is your weight healthy?

There really isn’t a healthy weight range that would suit everyone. Each person is different and their healthy weight is determined by different factors. For example, weight, age, height, exercise habits, etc.

Overweight and Obesity is one of the leading preventable causes of death worldwide.  It can lead to reduced life expectancy and / or increased health problems. Obesity can increase the likelihood of various diseases, particularly heart disease, type 2 diabetes, breathing difficulties during sleep, certain types of cancer, fatty liver, high cholesterol, infertility, impotence and osteoarthritis.

How do I measure myself?
While there are no perfect measures of overweight and obesity, waist measurements and Body Mass Index (BMI) can be used as a guideline for assessment. Measurement of your waist is the easiest way to assess whether your weight is in a healthy range.
Steps for Waist Measurement

  • Measure directly against your skin
  • Breathe out normally
  • Makes sure the tape is snug, without compressing the skin
  • Measure halfway between your lowest rib and the top of your hipbone, roughly in line with your belly button

According to World Health Organisation (WHO), most people with a waist measurement higher than the following is associated with increased risk of chronic disease.

Increased Risk Greatly Increased Risk
Men More than 94cm More than 102cm
Women More than 80cm More than 88cm

Waist measurements should only be used for adults to check their risk of developing obesity.  Measurements that indicate increased risks for children and young people have not yet been developed.

Calculate Your Body Mass Index (BMI)
BMI does have some limitations. For example, BMI does not necessarily reflect body fat distribution or describe the same degree of fatness in different population groups.

BMI = Weight (Kilograms) / Height (metres2)
The World Health Organisation has defined the BMI into the following categories:

BMI Classification
< 18.5 Underweight
18.5 – 24.9 Normal Weight
25.0 – 29.9 Overweight
30.0 – 34.9 Class I Obesity
35.0 – 39.9 Class II Obesity
≥ 40.0 Class III Obesity

Causes of Obesity
Most cases of obesity can be explained by the low energy expenditure and the excessive caloric intake of an individual. A limited number of cases are due primarily to genetics, medical reasons, or psychiatric illness.

Some examples of the excessive caloric intake are: too much fat, too many calories, intake of high energy dense food, night eating, social eating, and habitual eating.

Some examples of the causes of low energy expenditure are: having a sedentary job, lack of exercise, fatigue or laziness, and injury problems.

Other possible medical causes of obesity are: thyroid problems, slow metabolism, yo-yo dieting, genetic problems, lifestyle changes after pregnancy and menopause, and possible fear of failure and success.

Weight Management
The main treatment for obesity consists of eating right and keeping active. Weight management for obesity should be a long term gradual change in both eating the right food and regular exercises.

Note: Before starting any programme of weight-loss, please consult your doctor.

Keeping Active
Being active can provide tremendous benefits to your mental and physical health, even if it is just a small amount each day. Being active can help you sleep better, aid in relaxation, reduce the risk of depression and can help to prevent a range of chronic diseases. Life can be very hectic, and it is easy to say there isn’t enough time for you to be active. However, like most things, you just need to plan and prioritise.

If you are just a beginner at exercise, you can start out by making small changes and doing small amount of exercises. As you get used to them, gradually add more changes or activities. Aim to build up to 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activities every day. If you lack time, you can break up the 30 minutes into 10 to 15 minute slots throughout the day.

Tips: If you are an iPhone user, you can utilise the apps to help ease you into an exercise routine. Some good jogging apps are C25K (Couch to 5K) and Get Running which eases you into running and incrementally build up your running strengths in just 9 weeks. By the end of week 9, you will be able to cover 30 mins of non-stop running. It is a very easy program to get yourself into. You will find the first two weeks of the program is a breeze. By the third week you will be geared up to do more running. If you don’t have an iPhone, you can follow the couch-to-5k running plan on

Moderate-intensity Activities

Moderate-intensity activities will cause a slight but noticeable increase in your breathing and heart rate. A good example would be brisk walking; a pace where you are able to talk comfortably but not sing. The activity should be carried out for at least 10 minutes at a time.

Vigorous activities

Vigorous activities is when you have difficulties in talking in full sentences between breaths. Good examples are playing sports such as football, squash, netball, and other activities such as aerobics, jogging and cycling.

Eating Right

Apart from physical activities, your choices of food and portion of food will also play a very important part of your health and weight maintenance.

The Dietary Guildelines for Australian Adults encourages people to enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods:

  • Eat plenty of vegetables, legumes and fruits.
  • Eat plenty of cereals including breads, rice, pasta and noodles. Wholegrain products are preferred.
  • Include protein such as lean meat, fish, poultry, and/or alternatives such as eggs, legumes and nuts.
  • Include dairy such as milk, yoghurts, and cheeses and/or alternatives. If you are an adult, reduced fat varieties should be chosen where possible.
  • Drink plenty of water

Care should be taken to:

  • Limit saturated fat and moderate total fat intake
  • Choose foods low in salt
  • Limit your alcohol intake if you choose to drink and
  • Consume only moderate amounts of sugars, and foods and drinks containing added sugars.

More information on dietary guidelines for all Australians can be found on the National Health and Medical Research Council website.

Please also visit our recipes section for some healthy and delicious recipes.

Tips: iPhone has a great app called “MyNetDiary”. It can help you with your weight loss or maintenance plans. The app has quite a large food library to allow you to easily record your meals. MyNetDiary will also allow you to input custom calorie and nutrient intakes. The app will takes into account any calories burnt through physical activities and also provides an analysis of your daily calories. The food consumed that have been inputted into the app will also provide a nutrient breakdown summary. Once you start monitoring your food habits, it is much easier to maintain or work towards a healthy weight loss goal.

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