Maintaining a healthy body weight can protect you from a variety of illnesses. By assessing your body’s healthy weight and maintaining it as much as possible, you will be armed with an additional tool to stay in shape... and live longer!
In order to reach optimum health, it is recommended that you calculate your healthy body weight using the Body Mass Index (BMI) in combination with your waist circumference.
To calculate your BMI, you must divide your weight in kilograms by your height in square metres. Let’s take the example of a person weighing 68 kg and measuring 1.65 metres tall:
Weight (kg) ÷ height (m)2 = 68 kg ÷ (1.65 m)2 = 24.97
Thus, this person has a BMI of 25.
To calculate your waist circumference, you must measure your abdomen at hip height with a tape measure.
Ask your healthcare professional to help you establish your BMI and your waist circumference.
Review the results
Optimal BMI should be between 18.5 and 24.9 if you do not have any other conditions that influence the results (for example, if you are pregnant). Your waist circumference should be approximately 80 cm for women and 94 cm for men.
Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight can be beneficial to you in the long term. Below are some of the benefits of maintaining a healthy weight:
- Reducing the risk of heart disease;
- Reducing the risk of stroke;
- Reducing the risks of developing some forms of cancer;
- Controlling non-insulin dependent diabetes;
- Relieving back and joint tension;
- Increasing energy levels;
- Optimizing the immune system;
- Reducing the risks of osteoporosis;
- Reducing infertility risks;
- Reducing the risk of anaemia;
- Having more self-esteem;
- Increasing energy and welfare levels.
Below are several tips to help you maintain a healthy weight:
- Follow Canada’s Food Guide for a healthy diet.
- Make educated food choices. Avoid foods that contain sugar, fats and high calorie levels.
- Eat a lot of fruit and vegetables.
- Practise physical activity at least 3 times a week. Walk rather than taking the car whenever possible. Use stairs rather than taking the elevator, etc.
- Introduce good lifestyle habits, such as drinking lots of water, getting enough sleep, etc.
- Limit your alcohol consumption.
- Weigh yourself on a regular basis using a bathroom scale on a flat surface, preferably at the same time of day and without clothing.
Once we learn about all the benefits to be had from reaching a healthy weight, we understand the importance of adopting measures to avoid obesity, as much among children and adolescents as among adults. If you feel you could stand to lose some weight or are concerned about the effects that excess weight could have on your health, speak to your pharmacist or doctor. You can also call upon the expertise of other professionals, such as a nutritionist, to help you establish an action plan to maintain your healthy weight.