A healthy body weight looks different for everyone depending on factors such as their height, weight, muscle mass, sleeping patterns, and cultural backgrounds. A healthy weight can be maintained with healthy eating and regular physical activity. Restrictive diets (a type of diet that limits food intake to certain foods or food groups or to a certain number of calories) are not necessary.
Health weight is usually determined by your Body Mass Index (BMI) and waist circumference.
BMI is a measure of body fat. It is calculated using your height and weight. A higher BMI means more body fat. The higher the BMI, the higher your risk for certain diseases. However, there are limitations of BMI that you need to know about. It doesn’t distinguish between excess fat, muscle, or bone mass, and it doesn’t look at differences in fat between people. For example, a muscular person or athlete may have a high BMI due to increased muscle mass.
For adults aged 18 and above:
Another way to see if you have a healthy weight is to measure your waist circumference. Having excess weight around the waist can put you at more risk for developing obesity-related conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems, and cancer. This is true even if you are at a healthy weight.
The benefits of being a healthy weight extend far beyond what your body looks like. A healthy weight in combination with sleeping well, eating healthy, and moving more has positive effects on overall health. Weight can affect a person’s social and mental well-being along with their physical health.
A healthy weight can reduce your risk of:
A healthy weight can reduce the risk of a variety of cancers by:
More than 50% of Canadian adults have excess weight. Evidence suggests that excess fat can cause esophageal, pancreatic, liver, colon, rectum, breast, endometrial, gallbladder, and kidney cancers. As an example, we could prevent around 650 cancer cases in 2038 if all Manitobans maintain a healthy weight , starting today.
To help protect against cancer and other chronic diseases:
To maintain a healthy weight, the amount of energy or calories you gain from food and drinks should be balanced with the energy your body uses for activities like breathing, moving, and being physically active. This balance doesn’t have to be achieved every day as it’s a balance over time that helps you maintain a healthy weight.
Maintaining your weight does not have to mean changing your life completely. Take small steps, make realistic goals, and build from there. Here are some ways to maintain a healthy weight:
Here are some more programs and resources to help you maintain a healthy weight.