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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.

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