Achieving a healthy weight means eating the right amount of food for you.
• Your current weight is the result of lifelong eating habits, heredity, and level of physical activity.
• Changing your weight is a matter of energy balance. Food energy is measured in calories. Carbohydrates, protein, fat, and alcohol are the sources of energy in foods. Fat is the most concentrated source of calories. If you are eating more calories than your body needs, regardless of the source, you will gain weight. If you are not getting enough calories, you will lose weight.
• If you are not as active as you once were, you may need fewer calories to maintain your weight. It may be important to choose more carefully.
• If your dexterity and ability to prepare food have decreased, you may be eating less and losing weight.
• If you have a poor appetite or are too fatigued, you may be eating less and losing weight.
• A healthy weight is important for maximizing your ability to ambulate, as well as helping to control blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugar.
• To determine if your current weight is healthy for you, find your body mass index (BMI) at www.nhlbi.nih.gov/ guidelines/obesity/bmi_tbl.htm. Locate your height and weight on the chart and find the number where they intersect. A healthy BMI is between 19 and 24. A person with a BMI of 25 to 29 is considered overweight. A person with a BMI of 30 or above is considered to be obese. A person with a BMI less than 19 is considered underweight.
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