I am
What is a healthy body weight?
heartfoundation.org.au|Helpline 13 11 12

What is a healthy body weight?

Find out what a healthy body weight is and the steps you can take to achieve it.

Key takeaways

  • Maintaining a healthy body weight can improve your heart health. 
  • Moving more and eating better is key to achieving a healthy weight. 
  • Learn how to measure your waist to tell if you’re a healthy weight. 
  • Developing a healthy weight plan can help you achieve your goals.
4 min read
Achieving a healthy body weight is one of the best things you can do to improve your heart health and wellbeing. While there’s a lot of information out there about weight and weight loss, this can actually make harder to know what a healthy weight is and how to achieve it. 

Firstly, it can be helpful to learn how to assess your weight by measuring your waist. Then achieve and maintain a healthier weight with the help of our healthy eating and exercise tips. 

Measuring your waist 

Waist measurement is a simple check to tell if you’re carrying excess body fat around your middle. 

Your waist measurement is an indicator of the level of internal fat deposits that coat the heart, kidneys, liver, digestive organs and pancreas.  

This can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. 

How to measure your waist?

  1. Find the top of your hip bone and the bottom of your ribs. 
  2. Breathe out normally. 
  3. Place the tape measure midway between these points and wrap it around your waist. 
  4. Check your measurement.  

What does my measurement mean? 

Your health is at risk if your waist size is: 

Men: Over 94cm (about 37 inches)* 

Women: Over 80cm (about 31.5 inches)* 

* These guidelines are based on World Health Organization and National Health and Medical Research Council recommendations.

Who the measurements apply to?

Waist circumference is less accurate in some situations, including pregnancy, medical conditions where there is distension of the abdomen, and for certain groups such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, South Asian, Chinese and Japanese adults. Waist measurements should only be used for adults to check their risk of developing a chronic disease. 

Calculate your BMI score

Making healthy choices 

A lot has changed over the last few decades, with highly processed ‘convenience foods’  more available than ever. With better access to public transport, as well as food delivery services at our finger tips, we’re less likely to walk or hop on our bikes to get places. 

On top of this, jobs have become more sedentary, involving long hours sitting at a desk. 

The result is that healthy choices are not always the easiest to make, but The Heart Foundation is here to help with four handy tips.


How to Set up a weight loss plan 

If you and your doctor or dietitian agree that you need to lose weight, plan how to do it together. They can help you make realistic decisions about what you can achieve and the lifestyle changes you can make. 

Steps to making a weight loss plan:

  1. Set realistic goals for weight loss or lifestyle. 
  2. Start eating more fresh foods and less highly processed ‘junk’ foods. 
  3. Step out. Find new ways to increase the number of steps you take. 
  4. Get active in ways you enjoy on most days of the week. 
  5. Try to sit less and break up long periods of sitting with a short walk. 
  6. Stay positive! Weight loss isn’t easy, try to get your family and friends involved so you can motivate each other. 
Maintaining a healthy weight is important for your heart health and wellbeing. 

Get the support of a health professional to make a sustainable, long-term weight loss and maintenance plan.

You might also be interested in

4 tips to keep your heart healthy while working from home

4 tips to keep your heart healthy while working from home

4 tips to keep your heart healthy while working from home

What's your BMI?

What's your BMI?

What's your BMI?

Are you within a healthy weight range for your height?...

Women and heart disease

Women and heart disease

Women and heart disease

Information on women and heart disease for consumers....

Tasty recipes to start the day | Breakfast Recipe Booklet

Tasty recipes to start the day | Breakfast Recipe Booklet

Tasty recipes to start the day | Breakfast Recipe Booklet

Have an easy and delicious start to your day. Get your free copy now....

Are you at risk of heart disease?

Are you at risk of heart disease?

Are you at risk of heart disease?

There is no single cause for any one heart condition, but there are risk factors that increase your chance of developing one. ...

Chimichurri sauce

Chimichurri sauce

Chimichurri sauce

Serves Makes 2/3 cup (170mL)

Heart Foundation recipes

Heart Foundation recipes

Heart Foundation recipes

Search all of our heart healthy recipes ...

Key healthy eating messages for heart attack recovery 

Key healthy eating messages for heart attack recovery 

Key healthy eating messages for heart attack recovery 

Eating healthy foods can help you recover and reduce your risk of more heart problems. ...

Cyril credits cardiac rehab for getting his life back

Cyril credits cardiac rehab for getting his life back

Cyril credits cardiac rehab for getting his life back

Cyril suffered a heart attack in 2015. Cardiac rehab helped get his life back on track. ...

Cholesterol and triglycerides action plan

Cholesterol and triglycerides action plan

Key steps that can help you manage your cholesterol and triglyceride levels....

Research Directory

Research Directory

MyMarathon

MyMarathon

MyMarathon

The fundraising race where you set the pace. Run, jog or walk MyMarathon at your own pace during October....

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Trek for Australian Hearts

Trek for Australian Hearts

Trek for Australian Hearts

Join the Heart Foundation in South Australia for the journey of a lifetime, trekking the ancient Flinders Ranges to help save Australian hearts....

Advocating for healthy hearts throughout Australia

Advocating for healthy hearts throughout Australia

We're addressing the disparities in heart health so all Australians can live longer, healthier lives....

Nourishing chicken soup

Nourishing chicken soup

Nourishing chicken soup

1 hour
Serves Serves 6

Staying active for better heart health

Staying active for better heart health

Staying active for better heart health

Moving more every day is one of the best habits you can have....

Physical activity resources for patients and consumers

Physical activity resources for patients and consumers

Physical activity information for professionals...

$8 million for research into Australia's biggest killer - heart disease

$8 million for research into Australia's biggest killer - heart disease

$8 million for research into Australia's biggest killer - heart disease

Media release - 3 June 2021...

Breakfast tacos

Breakfast tacos

Breakfast tacos

5 minutes
Serves 1

What is coronary heart disease?

What is coronary heart disease?

What is coronary heart disease?

Coronary heart disease (CHD) or coronary artery disease occurs when a coronary artery clogs and narrows because of a buildup of plaque....

Paprika chicken with pumpkin and spinach salad

Paprika chicken with pumpkin and spinach salad

32 minutes
Serves 4

Quesadillas with avocado and tomato salsa

Quesadillas with avocado and tomato salsa

12 minutes
Serves 6 (as a side)

COVID-19 info & FAQs

COVID-19 info & FAQs

COVID-19 info & FAQs

Information and FAQs about COVID-19 and heart disease....

More Australians die of Heart Disease than any other cause.

More Australians die of Heart Disease than any other cause.

More Australians die of Heart Disease than any other cause.

And the heartache lasts a lifetime. But you can help the Heart Foundation fund life-saving research to keep more families together....

After being treated for atrial fibrillation, Boyd is now back on track

After being treated for atrial fibrillation, Boyd is now back on track

After being treated for atrial fibrillation, Boyd is now back on track

Running has been an important part of Boyd's life, so imagine his shock when a heart condition he had never heard of threatened to put a stop to it. ...

Lunch recipes

Lunch recipes

Lunch recipes

Search our lunch recipe ideas...

Coronary Angiogram Test

Coronary Angiogram Test

This is a common test done to find out angina symptoms, or during or after a heart attack. ...

Physical activity after a heart attack

Physical activity after a heart attack

Physical activity after a heart attack

Discover what you need to know about being active after a heart attack....

What is a cardiac arrest?

What is a cardiac arrest?

What is a cardiac arrest?

With immediate help a cardiac arrest can be survived. Learn how to save a life....

Donate Monthly | Become a Regular Donor

Donate Monthly | Become a Regular Donor

Donate Monthly | Become a Regular Donor

Join the fight against heart disease....

Driving and travelling after a heart attack

Driving and travelling after a heart attack

Driving and travelling after a heart attack

Explore our guide for driving and heart attack recovery. ...

Hazelnut maple granola clusters

Hazelnut maple granola clusters

Hazelnut maple granola clusters

30 minutes

Our corporate partners

Our corporate partners

Our corporate partners

We value the support of all of our corporate partners....

How a pacemaker at 34 saved my life

How a pacemaker at 34 saved my life

How a pacemaker at 34 saved my life

Kim shares the emotional and physical upheaval experienced on her journey to diagnosis and recovery....

Christmas recipes

Christmas recipes

Christmas recipes

Find heart healthy festive recipes. ...

Absolute CVD risk charts

Absolute CVD risk charts

Absolute CVD risk charts provide a visual tool to calculate CVD risk for use in practice in Australia....

Clinical resources: Coronary heart disease and mental health

Clinical resources: Coronary heart disease and mental health

The prevalence of depression is high in patients with coronary heart disease (CHD)....

Italian veggie fritters with tomato salad

Italian veggie fritters with tomato salad

Italian veggie fritters with tomato salad

20 minutes
Serves Serves 4 (as a main meal)

Leaving a gift in your Will: A lasting legacy

Leaving a gift in your Will: A lasting legacy

Leaving a gift in your Will: A lasting legacy

One of the most powerful ways to help support a future without heart disease is to include a gift to the Heart Foundation in your Will...