Common Health Questions

What are the benefits of losing weight?

If you’re overweight or obese, losing weight can reduce your risk of some potentially serious health problems.

According to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), most people who need to lose weight can get health benefits from losing even a small amount – about 5% – of their weight.

Health problems linked to being overweight

If you’re overweight or obese, you have a higher risk of:

  • high blood pressure
  • heart disease
  • stroke
  • type 2 diabetes
  • some types of cancer
  • infertility
  • osteoarthritis
  • back pain
  • depression 

How do I know if I need to lose weight?

You can find out if you’re overweight by calculating your body mass index (BMI). This shows whether you’re a healthy weight for your height.

Work out your BMI with the BMI healthy weight calculator on NHS Choices (external link).

The size of your waist is also important. If it’s too large, your risk of health problems is higher. See Why is my waist size important?

How can I lose weight safely?

The best way to lose weight is to make small, realistic changes to your diet and the amount of physical activity you do.

The amount of physical activity you should do depends on your age. For example, adults aged 19–64 years old should do 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity physical activity.

Last Updated: 26 November 2012