It’s important to know whether or not you need to lose weight. Research has shown that many overweight people don’t realise that their weight has crept up beyond a healthy level.
Take the tape test
One of the simplest ways to find out if you’re a healthy weight is to take the tape test. Storing fat around your middle increases the likelihood of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes. Measuring your waist will show if you are at higher risk. Measure half way between the bottom of your ribs and the top of your hips (usually about tummy button level), and check against the table below.
|Waist measurement for||At increased risk||At high risk|
|Woman||80cm (32 inches)||88cm (35 inches)|
|Men||94cm (37 inches)||102cm (40 inches)|
|Asian men||90cm (36 inches)|
What’s your number?
Another way to check if you’re a healthy weight is to find your Body Mass Index (BMI). The BMI is a scale that tells you whether your weight falls within the healthy range for your height.
Enter your height and weight into the calculator below to calculate your BMI.
How did you score?
BMI below 20: you are underweight and would probably benefit from eating more.
BMI between 20 and 25: you are a healthy weight for your height.
BMI between 25 and 30: you are overweight – you need to make sure that your weight does not continue to rise, and to try to lose some weight if you can.
BMI over 30: you are obese and definitely need to lose weight as your health is at risk.
Please note that these scales are only for adults and do not apply to children, and remember – even if you are a healthy weight you still should be getting your 30 minutes of activity at least five days of the week.
What’s it worth?
If you’re trying to lose weight, it can be useful to have at least a rough idea of how much energy you’re using up through physical activity. Our calorie expenditure calculator can give you a guide to how many calories you use by doing specific types of activity.
Choose your activity, enter your weight and the length of time you were active to find out roughly how many calories you’ll have burned.
This calculator is intended to give an approximate guide to calorie expenditure – individual differences mean that actual expenditure may vary. It is based with permission on data from the Compendium of Physical Activities.