Last Updated on December 27, 2021« Back to Health Tips
Healthy weight means that your weight is in a range that is considered healthy for your age and height.
Doctors use a measurement called a body mass index (BMI) to help determine if your weight is healthy. You can use this BMI Table from the National Institutes of Health to learn your BMI.
To use this table, find the your height on the left side of the table. Move across to your weight in pounds. The number at the top of the column is the BMI at that height and weight. Pounds have been rounded off.
Source: National Institute of Health, https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/BMI/bmi_tbl.pdf
Or, use our BMI Calculator for Adults:
If you need assistance finding a Primary Care Provider to help you with your weight or any other health care need, please call the Health Choice Customer Service Line at 1-800-322-8670.
Weighing less than you should can be caused by some serious diseases or illnesses. If you are losing weight without trying, you should see your doctor for a check-up. You should also see your doctor if you think you may have an eating disorder (see eating disorder information below). People who weigh less than they should may feel more tired than usual. They may be more likely to get serious infections and may take longer to heal if they are hurt or have surgery. Not having enough nutrients can affect your body in many ways.
What can you do if you are underweight?
- Add healthy calories. Instead of eating junk food, choose foods that are rich in nutrients. This helps ensure that your body has as much nourishment as possible. Foods with healthy calories include nuts, seeds, whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables. Try almonds, sunflower seeds, fruit, or whole-grain toast.
- Snack. Enjoy snacks with protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats. Healthy snacks could be: crackers and hummus, fruit and peanut butter, or avocado on toast.
- Eat small meals. If you have a low appetite, it can be hard to eat a full meal. Eating small meals throughout the day can help.
- Build muscle. Strength-training can build muscle and help you gain healthy weight. Yoga and weightlifting are exercises that can help to build muscle. Talk to your doctor about your exercise plans before beginning any new exercise programs.
Weighing more than you should can put you at risk for health problems. When you are overweight, you are more likely to have health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
What can you do if you are overweight?
- Talk with your doctor about your weight. Your doctor may want to check some labs. It may be difficult to lose weight, and your doctor can help you find a plan that works for you.
- Small changes can help. Try to eat more healthy foods and avoid “junk” foods. “Junk” foods such as potato chips, candy, fried foods, and soda have calories but not many vitamins and other nutrients that our bodies need. Eat more of the foods that have plenty of good nutrients and vitamins. Green leafy vegetables, lean proteins such as beans, chicken and fish, as well as fruits are all good for you. Drink water or unsweetened tea instead of sugary drinks.
- Try to get into a habit of exercising. Start with walking, biking, or swimming 5 minutes a day and add a minute or two every day or every week. Make a goal of walking 30 minutes per day. Exercise with a friend. It will be more fun, and you will be more likely to stick with it.
- See your behavioral health provider to help with stress, depression, anxiety, or other behavioral health conditions as these can make it harder to lose weight.
- Take a Healthy Living (CDSMP) workshop to learn how to improve your health. For information, talk to your case manager or go to: www.azlwi.org
- Ask your case manager about community resources near you. Some communities may offer walking programs, discount gym memberships, cooking classes, access to healthy foods, yoga classes and more.
There are three main types of eating disorders: anorexia nervosa, binge eating disorder and bulimia nervosa.
- Anorexia nervosa. People with this disorder may have an intense fear of weight gain, even when they are underweight. They may diet or exercise too much or use other ways to lose weight.
- Binge eating disorder. People with this disorder will eat large amounts of food in a short amount of time. Food may be eaten even if the person is not hungry or feels full.
- Bulimia nervosa. A person with bulimia binge eats like those with binge eating disorder. In addition, they use different ways, such as vomiting or laxatives, to try and prevent weight gain. Many people with bulimia also have anorexia nervosa.
- Centers for Disease Control. Information on healthy weight: www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/
- Family Doctor. Information on healthy weight gain: https://familydoctor.org/healthy-ways-to-gain-weight-if-youre-underweight/
- EatRight.org. Information on Eating Disorders: http://www.eatright.org/resource/health/diseases-and-conditions/eating-disorders/understanding-eating-disorders