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Why Is a Healthy Weight Important?
Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is important for overall health and can help you prevent and control many diseases and conditions. If you are overweight or obese, you are at higher risk of developing serious health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, gallstones, breathing problems, and certain cancers. That is why maintaining a healthy weight is so important: It helps you lower your risk for developing these problems, helps you feel good about yourself, and gives you more energy to enjoy life.
What Is Overweight and Obesity?
Overweight is having extra body weight from muscle, bone, fat, and/or water. Obesity is having a high amount of extra body fat. Body mass index (BMI) is a useful measure of overweight and obesity. The information on this Web site will provide you with information about BMI (including limitations of this measure) and how to reach and stay at a healthy weight. Talk to your health care provider if you are concerned about your BMI.
What Factors Contribute To a Healthy Weight?
Many factors can contribute to a person’s weight. These factors include environment, family history and genetics, metabolism (the way your body changes food and oxygen into energy), and behavior or habits.
Energy balance is important for maintaining a healthy weight. The amount of energy or calories you get from food and drinks (energy IN) is balanced with the energy your body uses for things like breathing, digesting, and being physically active (energy OUT):
- The same amount of energy IN and energy OUT over time = weight stays the same (energy balance)
- More energy IN than OUT over time = weight gain
- More energy OUT than IN over time = weight loss
To maintain a healthy weight, your energy IN and OUT don’t have to balance exactly every day. It’s the balance over time that helps you maintain a healthy weight.
You can reach and maintain a healthy weight if you:
- Follow a healthy diet, and if you are overweight or obese, reduce your daily intake by 500 calories for weight loss
- Are physically active
- Limit the time you spend being physically inactive
This program can help you lose weight by forming helpful habits, eating smarter, getting more exercise, and providing support through in-person meetings and online resources. En español
These handouts provide facilitators with tools to implement the DPP intervention using strategies to achieve nutrition, physical activity and weight loss goals. En español
Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP)
This national weight management program is designed to help veterans lose weight, keep it off, and improve their health. The materials available on this website can also be used to help non-VA patients manage their weight. En español
U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA)
This three-booklet package helps you assess your risk for developing diabetes and implement a program to prevent or delay the onset of the disease. Use the activity tracker and fat and calorie counter to help track your progress. En español
National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP)
These web pages provide information and tools to help you reach and maintain a healthy weight. Includes resources for health care professionals to assist in assessing and treating overweight and obese patients.
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Lose It! is a smart phone app that helps you set goals and achieve them through tracking your daily calories, habits, and exercise.
The National Diabetes Prevention Program lifestyle training curriculum is based on the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP). The lifestyle program is divided into two components: Core Curriculum & Post-Core Curriculum.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
The Prevent program is designed to help individuals, including those with prediabetes, lose weight and make healthier choices. Numerous clinical studies have demonstrated that weight loss and exercise can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Prevent brings together the individualized attention of a dedicated, professional health coach with a curriculum based on an NIH-sponsored clinical trial that guides participants toward manageable but powerful goals. Combined with an understanding and supportive small group, a flexible online format, and a growing pool of healthy resources, Prevent is a profound, lifestyle-changing experience.
Developed by a team of experts, Make it Happen provides valuable to help with the struggle of losing weight and has helpful tips for making healthier choices. You will learn how to eat better, move more, sleep well and stress less.
American College of Physicians (ACP)
This handout serves as a guide for identifying motivations to lose weight and setting weight loss goals. It also prompts consideration of the steps to reach goals, approaches for tracking progress, and support systems.
Indian Health Service
The evidence-based Group Lifestyle Balance program is designed to help patients make lifestyle changes which can prevent diabetes and prevent or treat metabolic syndrome. This program provides education, encouragement and the tools necessary to help individuals reach their healthy lifestyle goals and is designed for non–diabetic, overweight individuals age 18 and older who have pre–diabetes and/or the metabolic syndrome.
University of Pittsburgh Diabetes Prevention Support Center
MyFitnessPal is a diet and fitness community that provides tools and support for tracking your food and exercise and helping you achieve your weight loss goals.
The Body Weight Planner allows users to make personalized calorie and physical activity plans to reach a goal weight within a specific time period and to maintain it afterwards.
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
ChooseMyPlate.gov from the USDA illustrates the five food groups that are the building blocks for a healthy diet and provides tools for diet/calorie tracking and information on weight management, physical activity, and healthy eating. Some materials available in Spanish.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
These programs aim to assist parents in helping children manage their weight and live healthy lifestyles with specific activities and milestones.
This booklet and website, designed for Latino families, provides information on how to stay healthy and prevent diabetes problems, especially heart disease.
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
This video presents a case study demonstrating that quick fixes can’t compete with long-term planning and a support system. It shows five steps proven to help people lose weight.
This podcast offers strategies for addressing patient and practice obstacles related to overweight and obesity issues. CME credits available.
American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP)
SPARK PE offers evidence-based physical activity programs that provide curriculum and staff development to teachers of Pre-K through 12th grade students.
This report provides approaches for strengthening and improving programs and policies for physical activity and physical education in the school environment, including before, during, and after school.
National Academy of Medicine
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