Assess Your Body Weight

Research has shown that the location of excess body fat can be linked with higher health risks

Waist Circumference

People who have most of their body fat around their waist (abdominal fat) have an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. So when it comes to being a healthy weight, having a waist circumference in line with the recommendations is a great start.

The correct place to measure your waist is horizontally halfway between your lowest rib and the top of your hipbone. This is roughly in line with your belly button. Make sure the measuring tape is snug, but not squeezing the skin.

Check your risk of type 2 diabetes:

Female: a waist of >80cm/31in = increased risk
Male: a waist of >94cm/36in = increased risk

Body Mass Index

Body Mass Index (BMI) is another measure often used to estimate health risks associated with your weight. It compares weight with height but does not take into account how much of your weight is muscle or fat. The proportion of these impacts your health risks. BMI should be used in conjunction with other measures, such as waist circumference, and results should be interpreted by a health professional like an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD).

For those of European descent, a healthy BMI is 18.5–24.9 kg/m2 , overweight is 25–29.9 kg/m2 and obese is >30 kg/m2.

To calculate your BMI and find out your health risks visit the helpful links section of this website.

You can also use the BMI calculator to determine a healthy weight for you. Set this to be your long term goal. But remember to achieve this weight, lifestyle changes must be:

  • realistic
  • achievable
  • able to be maintained for the long-term.

Aim for a healthy weight loss of 0.5-1kg per week to achieve your long term goal.

Body shape

Research has shown that the location of excess body fat can be linked with higher health risks.

  • Apple shape
    People with excess body fat surrounding the abdomen or stomach (called abdominal obesity) carry higher health risk
  • Pear shape
    People with excess body fat on the hips, thighs and buttocks carry lower health risks

Waist to hip ratio

The waist to hip ratio (WHR) can identify abdominal obesity. You can determine your WHR by dividing your waist measurement (cm) by your hip measurement (cm).

A WHR greater than the following indicates an increased health risk:

    • 0.9 for men
    • 0.8 for women

Older adults

This information has been developed for adults aged 19-65 years. The nutrition needs of older adults can often be different to those of younger adults. For more information about weight management for older adults see Older Adults or visit an Accredited Practising Dietitian for advice tailored to your health needs.