Strive for a Healthy Weight
- Strive for a healthy weight. If you need to lose weight, losing even a little will
help. If you are of normal weight, maintain it. Staying in control of your weight
helps you be healthy now and in the future.
- Maintaining a healthy weight means balancing the number of calories you eat with
the calories your body uses or burns.
- If you maintain your weight, you are "in balance." You are eating close to the same
number of calories that your body is using. Your weight will remain stable.
- If you are gaining weight, you are eating more calories than your body is using.
These extra calories will be stored as fat, and you will gain weight.
- If you are losing weight, you are eating fewer calories than you are using. Your
body is using its fat storage cells for energy, so your weight is decreasing.
- A simple way to know if you are at a healthy weight is to know your body mass index
- Being a healthy, normal weight is good for you and will help you prevent and control
many diseases and conditions. Being overweight or obese increases your risk for
diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol problems, heart disease, gallbladder
disease, female health disorders, arthritis, some types of cancer, and sleep apnea.
- Eat wisely and choose a variety of low calorie, high nutrition foods and beverages
in the basic food groups. Select foods that limit your intake of fats, cholesterol,
added sugars, salt, and alcohol.
- Be as physically active as possible. For health benefits, adults should do at least
2 1/2 hours a week of moderate-intensity or 1 1/4 hours a week of vigorous intensity
aerobic physical activity or an equal combination of both. You'll see a difference
in your weight and your health.
- Lifestyle changes that include healthy eating, regular physical activity, and maintaining
a healthy weight are the keys to good health. If you need to lose weight, losing
even a little will help.
- Losing as little as 5-10% of your current body weight can lower your risks for many
- A reasonable and safe weight loss is 1-2 lbs per week. It might take 6 months to
reach your ultimate goal, but making gradual lifestyle changes can help you maintain
a healthier weight for life.
- If you are normal weight, congratulations! To maintain your weight, engage in regular
physical activity, eat wisely and weigh yourself regularly.
*Indicates that the link leads to a non-VA website. The VA is not responsible for
the content that is on the site.
If you have questions or interest in making a healthy living change, please
see your primary care team at the VA facility in which you receive health care.
- Body Mass Index (BMI): BMI is a screening test for the identification of overweight/obesity. BMI estimates total body fat based on height and weight. The formula for the calculation is:
Formula: weight (kg) / [height (m)]2
Calculation: [weight (kg) / height (cm) / height (cm)] x 10,000
- Normal Weight: A normal weight is a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9. BMI may overestimate body fat in athletes and others who have a muscular build and underestimate body fat in older persons and others who have lost muscle mass.
- Waist Circumference Measurement: Waist circumference measurement can assess abdominal girth and provide an independent prediction of risk over and above that given by BMI alone. Risk increases with a waist measurement greater than 35 inches for women or greater than 40 inches for men.
- Calorie reduction formula to lose weight: For a weight loss of 1-2 lbs per week, daily intake (food and beverages) should be reduced by 500 to 1,000 calories.
- VA National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
Handbook 1101.1 March 2011
- VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guideline For The Screening & Management of Overweight
- Achieving and Maintaining a Healthy Weight.
- The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.
- Clinical Guidelines on the Identification, Evaluation, and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults-The Evidence Report. National Institutes of Health. Obes Res. Sep 1998;6 Suppl 2:51S-209S.
- Seagle HM, Strain GW, Makris A, Reeves RS. Position of the American Dietetic Association: weight management. J Am Diet Assoc. Feb 2009;109(2):330-346.
- CDC. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Nutrition website.
- VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guideline for Screening and Management of Overweight and Obesity: VHA; 2006.
- MOVE! Weight Management Program Clinical Reference Manual.
- MOVE! Weight Management Program for Veterans Handout Booklet.
- MOVE! Group Sessions.
- Finding Your Way to a Healthier You: Based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
- The Guide to Community Preventive Services-Nutrition - website.
- Aim for a Healthy Weight.
- Assessing Your Weight. Healthy Weight - It's not a diet, it's a lifestyle!
- Balancing Calories. Healthy Weight - It's not a diet, it's a lifestyle!
- Healthy Eating for a Healthy Weight. Healthy Weight - It's not a diet, it's a lifestyle!http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/index.html.
- Losing Weight. Healthy Weight - It's not a diet, it's a lifestyle!http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/losing_weight/index.html.
- Preventing Weight Gain. Healthy Weight - It's not a diet, it's a lifestyle!
- Physical Activity for a Healthy Weight. Healthy Weight - It's not a diet, it's a lifestyle!