Healthy weight management is a long-term lifestyle strategy. It promotes healthy eating and daily physical activity. It also develops meaningful ways to track weight over time and maintain a healthy body weight.
What is a Healthy Weight?
The CDC defines a healthy weight when your body mass index (BMI) falls within a certain range that you’re not at an increased risk for diseases and health issues.
To find your body mass index, use the helpful Body Mass Index Calculator tool.
Body mass index is determined by your height and your weight. BMI doesn’t measure body fat. But there is some correlation. High BMI indicates higher body fat. Lower BMI tends to show lower body fat.
Body Weight Basics
Proper weight management focuses on achieving a healthy weight through steady weight loss, followed by maintenance over time.
Factors That Contribute to Healthy Weight
There are many factors that contribute to your weight. The main factors include behavior and lifestyle, family history, metabolism, economics, and environment.
Behavior and Lifestyle Habits
You can’t change your genetic predisposition. But you can modify your behavior and habits to achieve a healthier body and lifestyle. This includes things like eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, staying active, and getting a good night’s rest.
A healthy diet is one of the largest factors in overall health. Eating the right healthy foods, at the right time, and in the right quantity is key to a healthy body and mind. Learning about eating plans and how to find the right diet for you.
Physical Activity and Exercise
Calorie burn is a key factor in weight loss and maintenance. Consuming fewer calories is the job of your diet. Burning calories is the role of your physical activity and exercise. Maintaining a healthy weight throughout your life should include exercise. Learning which exercises are best is up to you. Running is a great activity that burns calories, uses many muscle groups, and works your heart and lungs. There are a number of great exercises that you can do to keep yourself healthy and happy.
To learn how many calories you’re burning, check out the Calories Burned Running Calculator.
Exercise is an important aspect of overall health. But activity level is more than just exercise., it’s a healthy mindset. It’s also a commitment to be active in your daily life.
If you have a sedentary job where you’re at a desk for 6 – 8 hours every day, find ways to stay active. One example is standing up every hour and walking around for 10 minutes. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Ride a bike to work. Park far away from the office so you can walk. Think about ways you can stay active in your daily life.
Sleep is a restorative process. Your body goes through a number of changes while you sleep. Your brain and body recover and recharge. This is why sleep is so important to your overall health. Without it, your body wouldn’t be able to repair cells, restore energy, and release much-needed hormones and proteins into your system.
How much sleep do you really need? It depends on a few different factors, especially age. Consider the following factors that affect the hours of sleep your body needs according to the Mayo Clinic:
Quality of sleep. If your sleep is frequently interrupted, you’re not getting quality sleep. Quality is just as important as quantity.
Sleep deprivation. If you’re sleep-deprived, you need more sleep.
Pregnancy. Changes in hormone levels and physical discomfort can result in poor sleep quality.
Aging. Older adults need about the same amount of sleep as younger adults. As you get older, your sleeping patterns may change. Older adults tend to sleep more lightly, and sleep for shorter time spans than do younger adults. Older adults also tend to wake up multiple times during the night.
For kids, getting the recommended amount of sleep on a regular basis is linked with better health, including improved attention, behavior, learning, memory, the ability to control emotions, quality of life, and mental and physical health.
For adults, getting less than seven hours of sleep a night on a regular basis has been linked with poor health, including weight gain, having a body mass index of 30 or higher, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and depression.
One aspect of your health that is out of your immediate control is your family health history. Part of your health is determined by your family history, for better or worse. This determines many things that you cannot change. But what you can do is understand what’s in your genes so you can make proactive decisions about your life and health.
Genes are sequences of DNA that contain information for making specific proteins or molecules of RNA. These perform important functions in a cell. The information in genes is passed from parents to children. Genetic codes for eye color, hair color, and the likelihood of health conditions or diseases are given to us at birth. You can’t change these codes, but you can learn more about family health history and make appropriate decisions that define your future.
How Metabolism Affects Weight
Metabolism is the process your body uses to convert food into energy. Calories in foods and beverages combine with oxygen to release the energy your body needs to function effectively.
Economic and Environmental Factors
Poorer communities with fewer resources may have food insecurity. This can increase the likelihood of health-related conditions like obesity.
Cost of Eating Healthy
Healthy foods tend to cost more than unhealthy foods. You can buy a whole bag full of tacos for the price of a crown of broccoli. The fact of the matter is that fresh, whole, healthy foods are more expensive than fast food and junk food. Because of this inevitability, effective planning and budgeting are required in order to afford the good foods. This includes things like growing your own whole foods, shopping sales and stocking up on healthy food choices, and meal planning.
Importance of Maintaining a Healthy Weight
Understanding management and ways to attain and maintain a healthy weight are very important to your overall health.
Rising obesity rates are a major concern around the world, especially in North America. About 60% of Americans are either overweight or obese.
Obesity-Related Health Conditions
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that people who are overweight or obese are at increased risk of the following health conditions:
- High blood pressure
- High LDL cholesterol
- Low HDL cholesterol
- High levels of triglycerides
- Type 2 diabetes
- Coronary heart disease
- Gallbladder disease
- Sleep apnea and breathing problems
- Many types of cancer
- Low quality of life
- Mental illnesses such as clinical depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders
- Body pain