What is a healthy weight and what are the benefits?
So, you’ve decided that this is the year to lose that extra weight? Good for you! You’re in good company: in a 2021 survey, 48% of respondents reported that their New Year’s Resolution was to lose weight.
A healthy weight is important for so many reasons. Excess weight can increase your risk for a variety of diseases including heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and more. Your weight can also interfere with sleep quality and overall mental health, which is why getting fit has a variety of benefits for your mind and body.
What does It mean to be at a healthy weight?
Body mass index is a common measure of weight. It’s a metric based on height and weight with a higher BMI indicating higher body fat (people with a BMI of 25 or higher are considered overweight or obese). Though it has limitations, BMI has been shown to be a good predictor of chronic disease and premature death.
But BMI is just one indicator of weight health. There are a few other things to consider as well. For example, blood pressure is a key metric to monitor. When you are overweight, you are more likely to experience a rise in blood pressure, which unchecked, can have severe consequences including heart attack, stroke, aneurysm, and more.
The same goes for cholesterol levels. Though high cholesterol can be a problem for anyone of any weight, excess body weight does increase the risk. Like high blood pressure, high cholesterol is a risk factor for cardiovascular issues.
Other indicators include physical fitness and genetics. Are you able to engage in regular physical activity? Are your body size and shape consistent with your family history?
It’s important to work with your healthcare provider to understand your overall health and identify the right metrics and goals for your own healthy weight. A trained professional can examine your health status and history and point you in the right direction. Be sure to know your numbers and keep them in healthy ranges, regardless of your weight or BMI.
A little bit of weight loss can have huge benefits
The good news is that for people who are overweight, even a small amount of weight loss can make a big difference in overall health. One study cited by WebMD found that just 2% loss of body weight improved blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, 5% loss of body weight can improve blood pressure and cholesterol, decreasing the risk of heart disease.
In another study, participants who lost 5% to 10% of their weight reduced their risk of developing metabolic syndrome by 22% (essentially, reducing risk factors for diabetes, heart disease, and stroke). Pre-diabetics who lose 5% to 10% of their body weight can reduce their risk of developing diabetes by 58%.
In addition, achieving a healthy weight can produce benefits such as increased confidence, healthier joints, and improved mood.
As you can see, there are significant benefits to achieving a healthy weight. We wish you the best on your weight loss journey – please share your progress with us on our Instagram page!