Achieving and Maintaining a Healthful Weight

Animation Movie AvailableWeight Loss for the Long-term

IMAGE You may have heard that losing weight is as easy as eating less and exercising more. It is true that taking in fewer calories than you use each day is the simplest way to lose weight. Never mind the fad diets, weight-loss pills, and herbal remedies—it all comes down to a balanced diet and a regular exercise program.

The first step is determining your current weight status: Are you underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese ? A good measure for this is the Body Mass Index (BMI), a standardized method used by health professionals to evaluate weight and body fat. BMI is calculated by using your weight and height. It helps give you an indication of whether you are at risk of health problems that are related to being overweight or obese. If your BMI is 25 or higher, you are at risk for a number of serious health problems, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, pregnancy-related disorders, and osteoarthritis. If you want to know your BMI, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website is equipped with BMI calculators for childen and teens, and adults. BMI values are interpreted as follows:

  • 18.4 or less = underweight
  • 18.5-24.9 = normal weight
  • 25-29.9 = overweight
  • 30 and over = obese
Although this is a reliable method, it is not foolproof. Because muscle tissue weighs more than fat tissue, heavily muscled people may fall into the obese range when they are not obese.

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