MyHealth.Alberta.ca Network

What is a healthy weight for you?

People come in all shapes and sizes, this is because of varying genetic and cultural background as well as the differing amounts of muscle and past weight history.

With so many diverse body types out there, it can be difficult determining a healthy weight. When it comes to your health though, a normal weight is one with the lowest risk of poor health, including cancer and chronic diseases. According to Canadian Guidelines, BMI (Body Mass Index) between 18.5-24.9 kg/m2 is associated with the lowest risk of disease1.

Health Condition Specific Information

Choose from one of the health conditions below to see how lifestyle choices can impact your risk of developing that health condition.

The Risk of Chronic Disease

According to studies, people who carry extra weight face a greater risk of premature death and a number of chronic diseases including: Type 2 Diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, arthritis and some forms of cancers3.

A BMI between 18.5-24.9 kg/m2 is considered normal.

Learn what your BMI is here

A normal BMI is based on weight according to Canadian weight classification. This classification is measured by looking at the health of an entire population, rather than an individual.

The BMI calculator below is for adults aged 18 and older. Here is how to interpret your BMI:

  • Underweight (BMI less than 18.5)
  • Healthy weight (BMI 18.5 to 24.9)
  • Overweight (BMI 25 to 29.9)
  • Obese (BMI 30 and over)

BMI Calculator

Calculate my BMI
Calculate my BMI

Lifestyle Changes

Making small changes that you can sustain like cutting calories can greatly affect your body weight and lead to a healthier life4. It only takes a weight loss of 5-10% (about 4.5 to 9 kg for a person weighing 90 kg) to significantly reduce the risk of some chronic diseases like diabetes. When it comes to changing your lifestyle, you’re not just trying to lose weight, but improving your overall health.

Choose 1-2 small and realistic changes to work on at a time.

Healthy Eating Ideas

Small behaviour changes in the way you eat can be helpful in managing your weight.

  • Set up your home for healthy eating. Stock up on healthy foods and put unhealthy snacks out of sight and reach
  • Instead of avoiding certain foods like bread and pasta, focus on building a healthy plate and fill 1/2 your plate with vegetables
  • Avoid drinks with calories (except 1% or skim milk)
  • Limit high fat foods and added fats
  • Limit eating out to one or two times a week
  • Write down what you eat and drink
  • Limit sugary food and drinks like candy, cake, soft drinks or drinks with added sugar
  • Replace processed snacks with vegetables and fruit

Physical Activity in your Life

Any weight loss plan should include physical activity. Being moderately or vigorously active for at least 150 minutes a week can reduce the risk of may chronic diseases. Moderate activity means exercise that causes adults to sweat and breathe a little harder. You don’t need a gym membership or personal trainer, you just need to get your heart rate up. In order to stay motivated, choose activities you enjoy and do them with family or friends. Creating a social and physical environment that supports your fitness goals makes it easier to form healthy habits. Surround yourself with people who emotionally support your fitness goals.

What’s a Moderate Activity?

  • Brisk walking
  • Shooting hoops
  • Daily chores

What’s a Vigorous Activity?

  • Jogging
  • Cycling
  • Cross-country skiing

You should engage in a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise a week1. More activity leads to greater health benefits.

Believe it or not, sleep can affect your weight

From motivation and energy levels to your appetite, sleeping habits play a large role in maintaining a healthy body weight. Research shows that less than 6 hours of sleep and more than 8 to 9 hours of sleep can increase your risk of chronic disease like cancer, diabetes and heart disease. People who got the right amount of sleep (between 7 to 8 hours) not only had the lowest risk of disease and death, but also reported better health and quality of life5.

Get between 7 to 8 hours of sleep each day6.