What is a healthy weight?
Our own ‘healthy weight’ assessment needs to consider a few different factors. These are:
Our Body Mass Index (BMI)
The BMI gives an estimate of whether our weight is in the healthy weight range for our height or not. If our weight is in the underweight, overweight or obese range, it increases our risk of other health problems.
How much body fat and muscle we have
The BMI calculation doesn’t take fat or muscle into account. Muscle is heavier than fat, so a well muscled athlete may have a BMI in the ‘overweight’ range, even though they are obviously not overweight. Too much body fat for our height however, can put us into the overweight or obese weight range.
Our body shape and where the fat is
It is also important to take our waist measurement.
For most people, an increased waist measurement is an indicator of internal fat deposits, which can coat the heart, kidneys, liver and pancreas and increase our risk of developing a chronic disease such as:
- some cancers
- heart disease
- type-2 diabetes.
Men and post-menopausal women are at greater risk of excess fat in the waist region.
Fat predominantly deposited around the hips and buttocks does not appear to have the same risk.
How can I tell if I’m a healthy weight?
There are two measurements you can do:
1. Work out your Body Mass Index (BMI)
Calculated by dividing your weight (in kilograms) by your height (in metres) squared.
This gives an estimate of whether you are overweight, underweight or in the healthy weight range for your height.
If you are outside of the healthy weight range (BMI 18.5 to 24.9) your health risks may increase.
2. Take your waist measurement with a tape measure in centimetres (cm)
A waist measurement of:
- Greater than 94 centimetres for most men or
- Greater than 80 centimetres for most women.
This is an indicator of the level of internal fat deposits which coat the heart, kidneys, liver and pancreas, and increase the risk of chronic disease.
There is an even higher risk of chronic disease for waist measurements of more than 102 centimetres for men and more than 88 centimetres for women.
How do I measure my waist correctly?
Make sure you’re measuring your waist correctly by checking out the Heart Foundation Australia website for the right way to measure yourself, taking into account your ethnicity.
What are the benefits of being a healthy weight?
- maintaining a healthy weight leads to:
- feeling more energetic and confident
- looking and feeling healthier
- sleeping better
- improving your health and reducing your health risks now and into the future
- reducing the need for medical attention and the associated medical bills
- parents and grandparents enjoying a longer and healthier life with children and grandchildren.
Communities benefit too
A healthier South Australian population, means our kids can learn better, communities are stronger and better places to live, our lifestyle is more sustainable, and we can get more out of our day at work, home and leisure time.
What are the risks of being overweight?
Unhealthy eating and not getting enough physical activity can lead to a weight gain that is outside of the healthy weight range and into the overweight or obese range.
Unfortunately, nearly 60% of South Australian adults and 25% of children are overweight or obese.
Being overweight or obese can increase the risk of health problems such as:
- heart disease
- type-2 diabetes
- gall bladder disease
- high blood pressure
- high cholesterol
- joint problems such as gout, arthritis and joint pain
- sleep problems
- sexual health problems.
Carrying a lot of extra weight can also affect our self-esteem, energy levels and confidence.
Take steps now to a healthier weight
Together, we can be healthier South Australians.
No matter what our age or life stage, there are steps we can all take to help reach and maintain a healthy weight for better health and wellbeing.
Have a browse of the following websites for some really useful information and great inspiration: