Help with weight issues
Maintaining a healthy weight is important for good health. The body mass index (BMI) is a measure that indicates whether your weight is within a healthy range.
You can find your BMI by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in metres squared. A BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 means you are in the healthy weight range for your height. More information on BMI ranges and how to calculate it can be found on the NHS what is the body mass index webpage.
The difference in the calories we eat and drink compared to the calories we use up determines whether we lose, gain or maintain weight. For example, if we consume more calories than we use up our bodies store the excess as fat and over time our weight may increase. The opposite is also true. If we continually consume fewer calories than we use up over time we may lose weight.
To maintain a stable weight, we must balance the calories we put into our bodies with the energy we use through normal bodily functions and physical activity. Further information on understanding calories and healthy weight can be found on the NHS understanding calories webpage.
Two ways in which we can maintain a stable weight and be healthier is to be more physically active and eat a nutritional and balanced diet. To start making healthier lifestyle choices you can find more advice on diet and physical activity on the NHS website:
Carrying excess weight increases the risk of:
- high blood pressure
- heart disease
- type 2 diabetes
- some types of cancer
- back pain
Making smalls changes to our lifestyle can kick start a weight loss journey and there are lots of reliable sources of advice and materials to turn to.
One You hosts a wealth of information about small, practical changes that fit into your life, to help you feel better and healthier. It offers a ten-minute quiz which provides you with a health score and signposts you to further information based on your results. It has a section on losing weight and eating better.
For families the NHS Change4life programme has lots of ideas to help families become healthier, including food facts, activities and recipes.
The NHS weight loss plan can help you lose weight safely, and there are many healthy eating diets to choose from. The online plan provides you with the information, help and support needed to lose weight and keep it off. NHS Live Well talks you through what counts towards different intensities of exercise. They also have fitness guides and videos for to get active at home.
You can also download apps and tools to help you manage and improve your health, and track your fitness. Some examples are:
Being underweight can also have health implications, such as:
- Weakened immune system
- Fragile bones
Gaining weight should be a slow and steady process, following a healthy balanced diet. NHS Live Well provides further information on being under weight and advice for gaining for all age groups.
Page last updated: 27 November 2023