Whenever we eat more than our body needs for
energy, we put on weight. Even small amounts of surplus energy each day
can build up and lead to weight gain.
So if you want to maintain or achieve a healthy
weight, you might want to look at ways of:
Making sure you only eat as much food as you
Improving the balance of your diet
Getting more active by building physical
activity into your daily life
maintain a healthy weight, we need to both eat well and move more. Many
families are making changes that will help them live healthier and
www.nhs.uk/Change4life or call 0300 123 4747 for more
information. Organisations and small clubs who want to be involved
should call 0300 123 3434.
Health care professionals can order Change4Life
evidence-based support materials online from the Department of Health
orderline, (enter Change4Life in the keyword search option) or by
telephone on 0300 123 1002.
How do I know if I have a healthy weight?
You can tell from your Body Mass Index (BMI)
whether you are a healthy weight or not.
Your BMI is calculated using the following
|These only apply
to adults NOT children
(Source Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives 2008)
BMI calculator on NHS Choices to calculate it for you.
Waist size is another indicator.
Your increased health risk is
greater when the extra fat is mainly around your waist ('apple shaped'),
rather than mainly on your hips and thighs ('pear shaped').
Waist Circumference for adults
||Increased Health Risk
||Substantially increased Health risk
> 94 cm
> 102 cm
> 80 cm
(Source WHO 1998)
Check NHS Choices for your
body shape and how to measure your waist correctly.
It’s all about balance!
To achieve and maintain a healthy weight it’s
important to eat a
balanced diet. Otherwise you might not be getting all the nutrients
you need to keep your body healthy.
healthy weight section of NHS Choices for information on being the
right weight for your height and BMI.
Physical activity is a good way of using up extra calories, and
helps us to maintain our body weight.
Why is a healthy weight important?
Levels of obesity have tripled since 1980 and
there is no sign of the upward trend stopping. Currently over half of
women and two-thirds of men are either overweight or obese. A third of
children are also either overweight or obese. The Foresight Report
indicated that on current trends nearly 60 per cent of the UK population
would be obese by 2050.
Obesity can have a severe impact on people’s
health, increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes, some cancers and heart
and liver disease. There is also a significant burden on the NHS –
direct costs caused by obesity are now estimated to be £5.1 billion per
Children and Young People
The Department of Health has published a follow-on document to the Public
Health White Paper called
Healthy Lives, Healthy People: a call to action on obesity in England which
sets new national ambitions for a downward trend in excess weight by 2020.
This target will be supported by a programme of
action to help children and their families have healthy lifestyles.
The following local schemes and initiatives
contribute to reducing childhood obesity:
In the 2006 ‘Our Health, Our
Care, Our Say’ White paper, a commitment was made to
initially develop three NHS LifeChecks for early years,
adolescent and mid-life. NHS LifeCheck is for everyone -
through a straightforward questionnaire it provides
personalised information and practical advice,
supporting people in making small changes that make a
big difference to future health and well-being. The
Baby LifeCheck is for parents and carers of babies
5-8 months old, the
Teen LifeCheck for young people aged between 12 and
15 years and the
Mid LifeCheck for those aged 45-60 years.
Please see the
Healthy Weight factsheet for more information.