What is a Healthy Weight for Me?

Getting to a Healthy Weight




What is a Healthy Weight?

A “healthy weight” is the weight, or weight range, at which you look and feel your best. Being in your healthy weight range minimizes your risk of serious health problems including:

  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Diabetes
  • Gallstones
  • Gout
  • Heart disease
  • Infertility
  • Sleep apnea
  • Some types of cancer
  • Stroke

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What is My Healthy Weight?

Everyone is healthy at a different weight, and it can be difficult to know what your ideal weight range is. What you see in magazines and diet books may not be healthy. When evaluating your weight, remember that a number on a scale only gives you part of the picture. You should also consider the following questions: How do I feel? Am I able to perform day-to-day activities with ease? Has my doctor told me that I am at risk for certain diseases because of my weight?

If you have questions about your weight, talk to your doctor or registered dietitian. They will look at several factors when evaluating your weight, including:

  • Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • Waist circumference
  • Other risk factors (including blood pressure, blood lipid and lifestyle factors)

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Body Mass Index

BMI is a height to weight ratio. It tells you if you are underweight, overweight, obese, or in a normal weight range. If you are overweight, your risk of developing certain diseases goes up. The more overweight you are, the more likely you are to have health problems as a result. Click on the following link to calculate your BMI—http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/bmicalc.htm.

If your BMI is above the normal range it is recommended to lose weight. This will help keep you healthy.

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Waist Circumference

Waist circumference also influences your risk for obesity-related diseases. It measures your abdominal fat. Fat in the abdomen area is more dangerous than fat that is in other places in your body. Abdominal fat is associated with diseases like diabetes and heart disease. To measure your waist circumference, use a measuring tape to measure around your waist, just above your hipbones. Health risks increase with a waist measurement of more than 35 inches for women, and more than 40 inches for men.

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Other Risk Factors

Your doctor may also check your blood to make sure your blood triglycerides are normal. This means that he will check the amount of cholesterol and fat in your blood. There are two kinds of cholesterol; LDL and HDL. LDL cholesterol is often called “bad cholesterol” because it takes cholesterol from the liver and delivers it to the arteries and tissues. You have probably heard of clogged arteries. Clogged arteries happen when cholesterol builds up inside the arteries and blocks blood flow. This can lead to heart disease and stroke. People with high LDL cholesterol levels are more likely to get clogged arteries. HDL cholesterol is often called “good cholesterol” because it clears cholesterol from the arteries and tissues and carries it back to the liver. Having a good level of HDL lowers your risk of heart disease. Keeping your weight in a healthy range can help keep blood cholesterol and fat at a healthier level. Exercise also helps raise the good cholesterol, HDL, to keep you healthy.

In addition to BMI and waist circumference, your doctor or registered dietitian will also evaluate your lifestyle behaviors, such as nutrition, smoking, drinking alcohol and exercise. This will help them see if you are at increased risk of weight-related diseases.

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How Can I Get My Weight in a Healthy Range?

By eating healthy and exercising regularly you can achieve or maintain a healthy weight. Forget the fad diets and weight loss pills, which often do more harm than good. Instead, aim to develop a pattern of healthy eating that includes lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

One good place to start is the Food Guide Pyramid. The Food Guide Pyramid is a guide to healthy eating that is published by the United States Department of Agriculture. It can give you specific information about what you should eat to maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risk for disease. Visit http://www.mypyramid.gov/mypyramid/index.aspx to create a personalized eating plan based on your height, weight, gender and physical activity level.

If you are interested in a 10-week healthy lifestyle course that can help you achieve a healthy weight and reduce your risk for heart disease, contact the American Heart Association at 1-800-AHA-USA1.

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Links About What is a Healthy Weight

Abdominal Fat and What to Do About It
The Harvard Medical School, Family Health Guide
http://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/updates/Abdominal-fat-and-what-to-do-about-it.shtml

American Heart Association Guidelines for Selecting a Weight Loss and Maintenance Program
The American Heart Association
http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=2884

Do You Know the Health Risks of Being Overweight?
NIDDK
http://www.pueblo.gsa.gov/cic_text/health/riskbeing-overweight/health.htm

Five Weight-Loss Goals
The American Heart Association
http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=3048092

What Are the Keys to Healthy Weight Loss?
The American Heart Association
http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=3040494

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Disclaimer:
Exercise is not without its risks and this or any other exercise program may result in injury. To reduce the risk of injury in your case, consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program. The advice presented is in no way intended as a substitute for medical consultation. The Utah County Health Department/WIC Program disclaim any liability from and in connection with this program. As with any exercise program, if at any point during your workout you begin to feel faint, dizzy, or have physical discomfort, you should stop immediately and consult a physician.


North County WIC Clinic

599 South 500 East
American Fork, UT 84003

801-851-7320
801-851-7329 (fax)

Provo WIC Clinic

151 South University Ave Ste 2100
Provo, UT 84601

801-851-7300
801-851-7303 (fax)

Orem WIC Clinic

816 N 980 W
Orem, UT 84057

801-851-7340
801-851-7346 (fax)

South County WIC Clinic

910 E 100 N, #125
Payson, UT 84651

801-851-7360
801-465-0911 (fax)