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Health Information for the Public

Do You Know if You Need To Lose Weight?

Your Choice for Change - Honoring the Gift of Heart Health for American Indians

Section Five - Maintain a Healthy Weight! Stay Active and Feel Better!

Your body mass index (BMI) and waist measurement can tell you if you need to lose weight. Follow the steps below to find your BMI and waist measurement.

  1. Find out if your weight is healthy.

    In the BMI chart below, mark the square where your height and weight cross. The color of the square will show you if you are a healthy weight, overweight, or obese.

    BMI Chart; click for text-only version

    Guide to a Healthy Weight

    Your BMI can be used to indicate if you are overweight or obese. Height and weight are used to find your BMI on this chart.

    • You have a healthy weight if your BMI is 18.5 to 24.9.
    • You are overweight if your BMI is 25 or higher.
    • You are obese if your BMI is 30 or higher.

    My weight is:

    _____ Healthy: I will keep this weight.
    _____ Overweight: I will take steps to lose weight.
    _____ Obese: I will ask my doctor or a registered dietitian for help losing weight.

  2. Measure Your Waist

    Measure your waist by placing a measuring tape snugly around your waist.

    Write down your waist measurement: ______________________

    Your waist measurement is high if:

    • Your waist measurement is greater than 35 inches, for women.
    • Your waist measurement is greater than 40 inches, for men.

    My waist measurement is: _____ Healthy    _____ High

    A high waist measurement increases your risk of heart disease. If your waist measurement is high, take steps to lose weight.

    How To Start Your Family Plan To Lose Weight


    • If you are overweight or obese, losing a small amount of weight can help you lower your risk of heart disease.
    • Lose weight slowly, about 1 to 2 pounds a week.
    • Pick a day to begin.
    • Change one thing at a time, and stick to each one.
    • Be physically active. Walk or dance for 30 to 60 minutes on most days.

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Public Health Service
National Institutes of Health
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
NIH Publication No. 08-6340
June 2008

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