Some people think about losing weight for physical appearance reasons and since their clothes are not fitting them well. Others have been told by their health care professional to lose weight for medical reasons in order to better control their high blood pressure or high cholesterol or high blood glucose levels. For whatever reasons, achieving a healthy body weight has become a major concern particularly with the increase in the prevalence of overweight and obesity worldwide. Therefore, as a first step it’s important to assess our current weight and determine whether it’s within a healthy range or not.

A commonly used method to assess body weight is by calculating “body mass index” (BMI) which is based on your weight and height. To calculate your BMI, divide your weight in kg by your height in cm squared (kg/m2). You may fall into one of four weight categories:

• Underweight (if your BMI is less than 18.5)
• Normal or healthy weight range (if your BMI is18.5 to 24.9)
• Overweight (if your BMI is 25 to 29.9)
• Obese (if your BMI is 30 or higher)

Overweight and obesity have been shown to increase the likelihood of several diseases and health problems. Therefore, if your BMI falls out of the normal or healthy weight range, you may want to visit your health care provider to set goals regarding achieving a healthier weight.

The general guidelines for healthy individuals encourage the daily consumption of at least five servings of fruits and vegetables, 6 ounces of grains with at least half of them coming from whole grains, 3 cups of skimmed or low fat milk, and 5 ounces of lean protein. Examples of lean protein foods include shrimps, tuna packed in water, beans, peas, turkey, crab, and sardines. In addition to following a healthy meal plan to maintain or achieve a healthy body weight, physical activity also plays a role in weight management and better health. The recommendations calls for at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most days of the week since people who are not physically active are more likely to get heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and stroke.