Risk of heart disease
Research shows that reaching and keeping to a healthy weight cuts your risk of heart and circulatory diseases because it helps prevent and manage conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes that put you at greater risk of coronary heart disease.
Even if you don't have any of these conditions, it's important to keep to a healthy weight so you don't develop them in future.
Do I need to lose weight?
There are two main ways to tell whether you need to lose weight: your Body Mass Index (BMI), and your waist measurement.
To work out your BMI you will need to know your height and weight. To work out your waist measurement you will need a tape measure.
Calculate your BMI with our BMI calculator
Your waist measurement
Your shape, as much as your weight, can affect your health risk. Fat
around your middle can increase your risk of getting heart disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes. That's because these fat cells produce toxic substances that cause damage to your body.
You can work out if you're at increased risk by simply measuring your waist. Find the bottom of your ribs and the top of your hips, and measure around your middle at a point mid-way between these. For many people this will be at the level of the tummy button. Remember not to breathe in!
Measure your waist and calculate if you’re at increased risk using our waist measurement tool.
|Men (white European)
||over 94cm (37”)
|| over 102cm (40”)
|Men (African-Caribbean, South Asian and some other minority ethnic groups)
|| over 90cm (35.5”)
|Women (white European)
||over 80cm (32”)
||over 88cm (35”)
|Women (African-Caribbean, South Asian and some other minority ethnic groups)
||over 80cm (32”)
Why are there different measurements for people of different ethnicities?
Research shows that if you’re South Asian, African-Caribbean, Black African, Chinese, Middle Eastern or have parents of two or more different ethnic groups, you may be at increased risk of some health conditions at a lower BMI than people from white European backgrounds. This means the measurements that indicate severe risk are lower for people from these groups.
If your BMI and waist circumference indicate that you are overweight and/or at increased risk, don’t panic - making simple changes to your lifestyle can help you lose weight.
What can I do to maintain a healthy weight or lose weight?
Eating well and being physically active can help you manage your weight and keep your heart healthy.
To find out more:
Do you want to know how to eat more healthily?
Our Eat Better booklet is a comprehensive guide to help you make healthier food choices to reduce your risk of developing or worsening heart and circulatory diseases. It offers small changes towards a healthy balanced diet, with simple practical tips for everyday life.
Order or download now