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Living Healthwise

Maintain a Healthy Body Weight

What Is a Healthy Weight? - Body Mass Index (BMI) - Set Realistic Goals - Tools for Change

Healthy bodies come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Weight is not the only measurement of health. In fact, your weight may say very little about your health. No matter what your shape or body size, you can improve your health by eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, and learning to feel good about your body.

Heredity plays a big role in your body shape and what you weigh. It would be impossible for most of us to look like fashion models or world-class athletes, but we can all learn to appreciate our bodies and treat them well to maximize our health and self-esteem.

What Is a Healthy Weight?

The Body Mass Index See Body Mass Index (BMI) provides an estimate of your total body fat, which influences your risk for certain diseases. However, your health is determined by more than just your weight. Other measurements of health include:

You can improve your health without changing your weight. The amount you weigh now could be, or could become, a healthy weight for you.

If you think that your current weight puts you at risk for health problems, talk to your health professional about different ways you can manage your weight. Most people are concerned about being overweight, but for some people being underweight is a health concern. Being obese (having a body mass index of 30 or greater) can increase your risk of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, some cancers, and other long-term illnesses. Losing as little as 5 percent to 10 percent of your body weight can lower your blood pressure, reduce other risk factors for heart disease, and improve your blood sugar levels.

Body Mass Index (BMI)

Your body mass index (BMI) is based on your height and weight. A healthy BMI for an adult is between 19 and 25. Disease risk increases both above and below this BMI range. A person is said to be obese when his or her BMI is 30 or higher.

Use the following table to look up the upper and lower limits of weight for your height. The height is given in centimetres (and inches) and the weight in kilograms (and pounds).


Healthy weight based on a BMI range from 19 to 25

cm (inches)

kg (lb)

147.3 (58)

40-53 (90-119)

149.9 (59)

42-56 (93-124)

152.4 (60)

43-58 (96-128)

154.9 (61)

44-59 (99-132)

157.5 (62)

46-61 (103-136)

160.0 (63)

48-63 (106-141)

162.6 (64)

49-65 (109-145)

165.1 (65)

51-67 (113-150)

167.6 (66)

53-70 (117-155)

170.2 (67)

54-71 (120-159)

172.7 (68)

56-74 (124-164)

175.3 (69)

57-76 (127-169)

177.8 (70)

59-78 (131-174)

180.3 (71)

61-80 (135-179)

182.9 (72)

62-83 (139-184)

185.4 (73)

64-85 (143-189)

188.0 (74)

66-87 (147-194)

190.5 (75)

68-90 (151-200)

193.0 (76)

70-92 (155-205)

Set Realistic Goals

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Before you start a weight management program, think about your goals, your expectations, and your readiness to make lifestyle changes. A realistic weight management program should focus on the following:

Tools for Change

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Set your body in motion

Regular physical activity makes you feel stronger and more energetic. It also improves your overall health.

Physical activity makes your body burn more calories, not just while you're exercising, but throughout the day. So if you exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet, you will find it easier to manage your weight. In addition, regular exercise builds muscle. Increasing the amount of muscle in your body (lean muscle mass) is healthier for you and will make your body look more toned. For tips on making regular physical activity a part of your healthy lifestyle, see Fitness.

Plan your meals

People who eat regular meals find it easier to maintain a healthy weight than do people who overeat, skip meals, or snack. Meals that are

planned are usually more nutritious than those that are grabbed at the last minute. Taking time to plan what you will eat will improve your diet and can help you control your weight. Skipping meals usually leads to feelings of deprivation, which can lead to overeating at the next meal or eating a less-than-nutritious snack.

Focus on reducing fat

Eat a variety of nutritious, low-fat foods. Rather than counting calories, focus on eating more fruits and vege- tables and less fat.

A low-fat diet (less than 30 percent of total calories from fat) will help you control your weight and reduce your risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and other diseases. For tips on how to cut fat from your diet, See Simple Ways to Reduce Fat.


Enjoy your food

You can enjoy all the foods you love and still control your weight. The key is to be sensible about how much you eat and to balance calorie intake with calorie burn-off (exercise). Here are some tips: