It's important for children and adults to maintain a healthy weight for their age, sex and height. If you are overweight or obese, you could be putting yourself at risk of developing serious physical health problems.
Being overweight is a very common problem in the UK but putting on excess weight doesn't happen overnight. It happens gradually over time, as a result of poor diet and lifestyle choices, like:
eating lots of processed or fast food, or food high in fat and sugar
drinking too much alcohol – alcohol contains a lot of calories, and people who drink heavily are often overweight
eating out a lot, particularly if you are choosing a starter and dessert as well as a main course
eating larger portions than you need – it can be difficult to know how much food you should be putting on your plate and people can end up serving themselves larger portions than they need
drinking too many sugary drinks – including fizzy drinks and fruit juice
comfort eating – if you are feeling low, you may eat to make yourself feel better
Risks of not maintaining a healthy weight
It's very important to take steps to ensure you are a healthy weight because, as well as causing obvious physical changes, being overweight or obese can lead to a number of serious and potentially life-threatening conditions, such as:
type 2 diabetes
some types of cancer, such as breast cancer and bowel cancer
Being overweight can also affect your quality of life and lead to psychological problems, such as depression and low self-esteem.
The good news is, you can improve your overall health and wellbeing and lose weight by making small changes to your lifestyle and there are lots of services that can help you to make these changes.
How can I check if I'm a healthy weight?
The most widely used method for checking if you are a healthy weight is body mass index (BMI).
For most adults, having a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 means you're considered to be a healthy weight. A person with a BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered to be overweight, and someone with a BMI over 30 is considered to be obese.
It's important to remember that BMI is only a guide as you can sometimes have a BMI that shows you are overweight even if you're not, for example if you have a lot of muscle on your body. It could also show that you are a healthy weight when you actually have excess tummy fat – meaning you're still at risk of developing health problems associated with being overweight. If you're unsure, visit your GP for advice.
You can use the BMI healthy weight calculator below as a guide to check if you are a healthy weight for your age, gender and height.
How can we help you?
If you're struggling with your weight, whether you need to lose a few extra pounds or several stone, there are lots of support services that can help you to make lifestyle changes to lose weight and improve your overall health and wellbeing.
Our Healthy Knowsley Service provides a range of local services for people in Knowsley, including lifestyle, healthy eating and physical activity advice.
We also provide weight loss services for adults in Halton and Knowsley, as well as weight management services for children and families in Halton and Knowsley.
If you live outside these areas, you can use the find a service tool on NHS Choices to find weight loss support groups in your area or visit your GP to find out what services are available locally.