Weight Management

Managing your weight means keeping your body weight at a level that is healthy for you. Talk to your doctor to understand your body type and to set up a diet and exercise plan. Keep in mind that your body changes as you get older.

Although every body is different, the following are some good tips to help you manage your weight:

  • Eat a well-balanced, healthy diet
  • Exercise regularly
  • Quit smoking
  • Avoid alcohol, or drink moderately

Health Risks of Being Overweight

Only your doctor is qualified to determine the health risks associated with your weight. Being overweight or obese can lead to many health problems, including:

  • High blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Breathing problems
  • Certain cancers
  • High LDL ("bad") cholesterol
  • Low HDL ("good") cholesterol
  • High blood glucose (sugar)
  • Body Mass Index

Body Mass Index, or BMI, helps determine overweight and obesity. Your BMI is determined by your height and weight. A high BMI increases your chance of developing health problems associated with being overweight. If you are overweight or obese, even a small amount of weight loss can help lower your risk of developing weight-related health risks.

StatusBMI
UnderweightBelow 18.5
Normal18.5–24.9
Overweight25.0–29.9
Obese30.0 and above

What Is a Calorie?

A calorie is a unit of energy. Foods have certain calorie counts. This is the amount of energy required for you to “burn off” the foods you eat. Your body burns off calories with different types of physical activity.

The recommended daily calorie intake depends on your height, weight, and physical activity level. Many experts recommend an average of 2,500 for men, 2,000 for women, and 1,800 for children ages 5–10. This is the amount of energy your body will need per day to be healthy and active. Pregnant women should take in 2,500 calories per day in their third trimester.

Losing Weight

To lose weight, you must burn off more calories than you take in. This is best accomplished by watching what you eat and getting regular exercise.

If you are considering losing weight, do so gradually. Most doctors recommend a target loss of 1–2 pounds per week. To lose one pound of fat, you must burn off 3,500 more calories than what you eat. To lose one pound in a week, you would need to burn 500 extra calories per day.