If it is tough to manage your weight, you are certainly not alone in today’s world. In fact, more than 39 percent of American adults have obesity.1 Excess weight may lead to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease, and other chronic health problems. Setting goals to improve your health may help you lower the chances of developing weight-related health problems.

How can you tell if you are at a healthy weight?

Your body mass index (BMI) can help you determine if you are at a healthy weight, overweight, or have obesity. BMI is a measure based on your weight in relation to your height. You can use an online tool to calculate your BMI. A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is in the healthy range. A person with a BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight. Someone with a BMI of 30 or greater is considered to have obesity.

Another important measure is your waist size. Women with a waist size of more than 35 inches, and men with a waist size of more than 40 inches, may be more likely to develop health problems. Men are more likely than women to carry extra weight around their abdomen, or belly. Extra fat, especially in the abdomen, may put people at risk for certain health problems, even if they have a normal weight.

What are some health risks of being overweight or having obesity?

Extra weight may increase your risk for;

-Type 2 diabetes
-Heart disease and stroke
-High blood cholesterol
-High blood pressure
-Kidney disease
-Fatty liver disease
-Problems with pregnancy
-Certain types of cancer

Why do some people become overweight?

Many factors, including consuming more calories than you need from food and beverages, lack of sleep, and low levels of physical activity, may play a part in gaining excess weight. Here are some factors that may influence weight and overall health.

1. The world around you.

Your home, community, and workplace all may affect how you make daily lifestyle choices. Food and beverages high in fat, added sugar, and calories are easy to find and sometimes hard to avoid. And they often cost less than healthier choices like fruits and vegetables. On top of that, smartphones and other devices may make it easy for you to be less active in your daily routine.

2. Families.

Overweight and obesity tend to run in families, suggesting that genes may play a role in weight gain. Families also share food preferences and habits that may affect how much, when, and what we eat and drink.

3. Medicines.

Some medicines, such as steroids, and some drugs for depression and other chronic health problems, may lead to weight gain. Ask your health care professional or pharmacist about whether weight gain is a possible side effect of medicines you are taking and if there are other medicines that can help your health without gaining weight.

4. Emotions.

Sometimes people snack, eat, or drink more when they feel bored, sad, angry, happy, or stressed—even when they are not hungry. Consider whether it might be your emotions making you want to eat, and try doing something else to help you cope with negative feelings or celebrate your good mood. That can help you feel better and avoid weight gain.

5. Lack of sleep.

In general, people who get too little sleep tend to weigh more than those who get enough sleep. There are several possible explanations. Sleep-deprived people may be too tired to exercise. They may take in more calories simply because they are awake longer and have more opportunities to eat. Lack of sleep may also disrupt the balance of hormones that control appetite. Researchers have noticed changes in the brains of people who are sleep deprived. These changes may spark a desire for tasty foods. Learn more about sleep deprivation and deficiency and strategies for getting enough sleep.


Source: www.niddk.nih.gov


Being aware of food portion size, the kinds of foods and beverages you consume, and how often you have them may be a step to help you make healthier food choices.

What kinds of foods and drinks should I consume?

Consume more nutrient-rich foods. Nutrients—like vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber—nourish our bodies by giving them what they need to be healthy.

Adults are encouraged to consume some of the following foods and beverages that are rich in nutrients

-Fruits and vegetables
-Whole grains, like oatmeal, whole-grain bread, and brown rice
-Seafood, lean meats, poultry, and eggs
-Beans, peas, unsalted nuts, and seeds
-Sliced vegetables or baby carrots with hummus
-Fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products

If you’re sensitive to milk and milk products, try substituting

-Nondairy soy, almond, rice, or other drinks with added vitamin D and calcium
-Lactose-reduced fat-free or low-fat milk
-Dark leafy vegetables like collard greens or kale

Consume less of these foods and beverages. Some foods and beverages have many calories but few of the essential nutrients your body needs. Added sugars and solid fats pack a lot of calories into food and beverages but provide a limited amount of healthy nutrients. Salt does not contain calories, but it tends to be in high-calorie foods.

Adults should aim to limit foods and drinks such as :
-Sugar-sweetened drinks and foods
-Foods with solid fats like butter, margarine, lard, and shortening
-White bread, rice, and pasta that are made from refined grains
-Foods with added salt (sodium)
-Whole milk

Easy snack ideas. Instead of sugary, fatty snacks, try

-Fat-free or low-fat milk or yogurt
-Fresh or canned fruit, without added sugars

How can I follow a healthy eating plan?

These tips may help you stay on track with your plan to eat healthier.

-Reduce the overall calories you consume. If you consume more calories than you use through daily living, exercise, and other activities, it may lead to weight gain. If you consume fewer calories than you use through physical activity, it may lead to weight loss.

-Have healthy snacks on hand. Whether you are at home, at work, or on the go, healthy snacks may help combat hunger and prevent overeating. Look for snacks that are low in added sugar and salt. Your best bets are whole foods—like baby carrots, fresh fruit, or low-fat or fat-free yogurt instead of chips, cakes, or cookies—rather than packaged or processed foods.

-Select a mix of colorful vegetables each day. Choose dark, leafy greens—such as spinach, kale, collards, and mustard greens—and red and orange vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, red peppers, and tomatoes. If you have had kidney stones, be aware that some vegetables, like spinach and sweet potatoes, are high in oxalate, a chemical that combines with calcium in urine to form a common type of kidney stone. So, if you have kidney stones, you may need to watch how much of this you eat. But for others, these are great choices. Eat a rainbow of food colors!

-Choose whole grains more often. Try whole-grain breads and pastas, oatmeal, or brown rice.

-Shift from solid fats to oils. Try cooking with vegetable, olive, canola, or peanut oil instead of solid fats such as butter, stick margarine, shortening, lard, or coconut oil. Choose foods that naturally contain oils, such as seafood and nuts, instead of some meat and poultry. And use salad dressings and spreads that are made with oils rather than solid fats.

-Switch from frying to baking or grilling. Instead of fried chicken, try a salad topped with grilled chicken. Instead of ordering fries when eating out, ask for a side of steamed veggies.

-Limit foods and beverages that are high in sugar and salt. Avoid snack foods high in salt and added sugars; and keep away from sugary soft drinks.

-Read the Nutrition Facts label on packaged foods. The Nutrition Facts label tells you how many calories and servings are in a box, package, or can. The label also shows how many ingredients, such as fat, fiber, sodium, and sugar—including added sugars—are in one serving of food. You can use these facts to make healthy food choices.

Source: www.niddk.nih.gov


What are the benefits of physical activity?

Experts recommend that you should move more and sit less throughout the day. You can gain some health benefits if you sit less and do any amount of physical activity.

Keep reminding yourself: Some physical activity is better than none.

Being physically active may help you start feeling better right away. It can help

-Boost your mood
-Sharpen your focus
-Reduce your stress
-Improve your sleep

Once you are more active, keep it up with regular activities. That will improve your health even more. Studies suggest that, over time, physical activity can help you live a longer, healthier life. It may

-Help prevent heart disease and stroke
-Control your blood pressure
-Lower your risk of diseases like type 2 diabetes and some cancers

What types of physical activity do I need?

Experts recommend two types of physical activities: aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities.

  1. Aerobic activity. Aerobic activities—also called endurance or cardio activities—use your large muscle groups (chest, legs, and back) to speed up your heart rate and breathing.

Aerobics can be moderate or vigorous. How can you tell what level your activity is? Take the “talk test” to find out. If you’re breathing hard but can still have a conversation easily—but you can’t sing—then you’re doing moderate-intensity activity. If you can only say a few words before pausing for a breath, then you’re at the vigorous level. Start with moderate-intensity activities and then work up to vigorous-intensity activities to avoid injuries.

Choose aerobic activities that are fun for you. You’re more likely to be active if you like what you’re doing. Try getting a friend, family member, or coworker to join you. That may help you enjoy activity and stick with it.

Try one of these activities or any others you enjoy

-Brisk walking or jogging
-Bicycling (wear a helmet)
-Playing basketball or soccer

Regular aerobic activity can help you to;

-manage your weight. Aerobic activity uses calories, which may help keep your weight down.

-Prevent heart disease and stroke. Regular aerobic activity may strengthen your heart muscle. It may even lower your blood pressure. It may also help lower “bad” cholesterol and raise “good” cholesterol, which may lower your risk of getting heart disease.

-Prevent other diseases. Even moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week may lower your risk for type 2 diabetes, some cancers, anxiety, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

-Maintain strong bones. Weight-bearing aerobic activities that involve lifting or pushing your own body weight, such as walking, jogging, or dancing, help to maintain strong bones.

2.Muscle-strengthening activity. Strength training (or resistance training) works your muscles by making you push or pull against something—a wall or floor, hand-held weights, an exercise bar, exercise bands, or even soup cans.

Try these options

-Lift weights—you can even use two full cans of food or gallon-size water containers as weights
-Do push-ups, pull-ups, or planks
-Work with resistance bands (large rubber bands)
-Do heavy gardening (digging, lifting, and carrying)


Doing regular activities to strengthen your muscles may help you to;

-Increase bone strength and prevent bone loss NIH external link as you age
-Maintain muscle mass and prevent muscle loss as you age or as you lose weight.
-Work the major muscle groups of your body, such as the chest, back, abdominals, legs, and arms.

How much physical activity do I need?

Experts recommend at least 150 minutes a week (a total of 2 ½ hours) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity. You can spread your activity throughout the week—whatever works best for you. Studies show that if you spread activity across at least 3 days a week, you can improve your health, reduce your risk of injury, and keep yourself from becoming too tired.

If you increase your aerobic activity to 300 minutes a week—instead of the recommended 150 minutes—you may even lower your risk for heart disease or type 2 diabetes. Additionally, if you do more than 300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, you may even reduce your risk for several cancers.

You should also aim for at least 2 days a week of muscle-strengthening activities. To avoid injury, allow at least 1 day of rest for your muscles to recover and rebuild before working the same muscle groups again.

Source: www.niddk.nih.gov


Many people feel stress in their daily lives. Stress can cause you to overeat, feel tired, and not want to be active. Healthy eating and regular physical activity may help offset the effects of stress.

Try some of these other ideas to help relieve stress and stay on track with improving your health.

  • Get adequate sleep.
  • Try a new hobby or any activity that sparks your interest.
  • Surround yourself with people whose company you enjoy.

There are apps that give helpful tips on stress management practices and help you monitor the situations that prompt stress. Check them out to see if one works for you.

A balanced eating plan, regular physical activity, stress relief, adequate sleep, and other behaviors may help you stay healthy for life!

Source: www.niddk.nih.gov