Your weight

Losing weightYour weight can make a significant difference to your risk of heart disease.

Being overweight puts you more at risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes. We can help you with:

Laura lost 5 stone to help her heart health
Find out how Laura lost the weight and found a new way of life.

Do I need to lose weight?

There are two main ways to tell whether you need to lose weight: your waist measurement and your Body Mass Index (BMI).

To find out, you will need a tape measure on hand, and to know your height and weight.

Measuring your waist

Use a tape measure to work out your waist size. If you don't have one, you can get one free by joining our Heart Matters service for people who want to know more about looking after their heart.

How do I measure my waist?


Find the top of your hip bone and the bottom of your ribs. Place the tape measure about midway between these points and wrap it around your waist. For most people this will be level with your tummy button. Write down your result.

Knowing your waist size can help you work out whether you are at increased risk of health problems. Your ethnicity might also affect how much at risk you are.

  Increased risk Severe risk
Men Over 94cm (37") over 102cm (40")
South asian men - over 90cm (35.5")
Women Over 80cm (32") over 88cm (35")
South asian women - over 80cm (32")

Finding your BMI

Knowing your BMI can help you figure out whether you are overweight, the ideal weight, or underweight for your height. Use our handy tool to find out and record your result:

Calculate your BMI

More information aboout BMI

While BMI can be a quick guide to assessing your weight, it does have some limitations. It doesn't apply to athletes whose muscle mass, which weighs more than fat, may put them in the 'overweight' or 'obese' category.

Similarly, as you get older, BMI may underestimate your risk of being overweight because a greater proportion of your body will be fatty tissue rather than muscle.

It also doesn't apply if you're pregnant and you should seek a doctor's advice if you're worried about your weight during pregnancy.

However, it is a helpful tool alongside waist measurement to help you figure out if you would benefit from doing something about your weight.