What does Healthy Weight actually mean?

Healthy Weight

Maintaining a healthy body weight is important to stay healthy. Gaining unhealthy weight increases the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other serious health conditions. So, what does “Healthy weight” actually mean? For adults, healthy weight is defined as the appropriate body weight in relation to height.

You can determine your healthy body weight by calculating your Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI measures your weight with respect to your height. The formula is: BMI = weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared. Knowing your BMI helps you find out if you are at a healthy weight.

A normal BMI score falls between 18.5 and 24.9, which indicates that the person is within the normal/healthy weight range for his/her height. The chart below shows the World Health Organization’s recommended body weight based on BMI values that show whether a person (men or women, age 18 or older) is underweight, overweight, or obese.

Category BMI range/sqm
Severe Thinness <16
Moderate Thinness 16-17
Mild Thinness 17-18.5
Normal 18.5-25
Overweight 25-30
Obese Class I 30-35
Obese Class II 35-40
Obese Class III >40

However, BMI calculations are different for muscle builders, pregnant women, the elderly, and young children. As the measure can’t distinguish between muscle and fat, muscle builders may have a high BMI, but may not be at a risk of health problems. Growing children have a lower muscle mass while seniors tend to lose muscle mass, and both these groups may have a lower BMI. BMI cannot accurately indicate the state of a woman’s health during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

BMI is considered an indicator of health risks because it calculates the amount of fat present in your body. Experts say that if the fat tends to settle around your waist rather than the hips, this can lead to a higher risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Generally, this risk of these conditions is higher with a waist size that is greater than 35 inches for women or greater than 40 inches for men.

Being at a healthy weight reduces your risk of several health problems. Low BMI (underweight) and high BMI (overweight) increase the risk of health problems. People with a high BMI are at risk of:

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Premature death
  • Gallstones
  • Breathing problems
  • Certain cancers
  • Depression and other mental disorders
  • Osteoarthritis

People who are underweight or have a low BMI are at a risk of:

  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Osteoporosis
  • Decrease in immune function
  • Growth and development issues (particularly in children and teenagers)
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Potential complications as a result of surgery
  • Anemia

Here are some simple tips to maintain a healthy weight:

  • Eat healthy, Include fruits and vegetables in your diet.
  • Avoid sugary and caloric-rich foods.
  • Keep track of your calorie intake.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Exercise and stay physically active – it will help you to burn calories and build muscles.

Don’t skip breakfast. Eating breakfast kick starts your metabolism, and gives you energy throughout the day. It has been found that people who skip breakfast have higher BMIs than people who eat breakfast. Eating a nutritious, balanced diet and staying physically active will help you to maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risks of developing health problems.