EDITORIAL: Why get concerned about your body weight?

HEALTH & LIFESTYLE: Globally, overweight and obesity have increased not only among adults, but also among children and adolescents. The World Health Organization (WHO) designates obesity as one of the most important public health threats because of the significant impact of chronic conditions associated with it. Obesity in adults increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases like diabetes, hypertension and stroke and musculoskeletal disorders.

Body weight is one of the body’s measurements that’s greatly ignored by members of the community. It’s good to acknowledge that most of us are now starting to realize how significant body weight is in determining one’s health. Body weight has a variety of health consequences and therefore needs to be kept within the optimum ranges.

To know your body mass index, we use an internationally recognized standard of determination called the Body Mass Index (BMI). According to the Centres for Disease Control (CDC), BMI is a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters (BMI = weight/height(m²).  A high BMI can indicate high body fatness while a low BMI can indicate too low body fatness. 

  • If your BMI is less than 18.5, the it falls within the underweight range.
  • If your BMI is 18.5 to 24.9, it falls within the normal or Healthy Weight range.
  • If your BMI is 25.0 to 29.9, it falls within the overweight range.
  • If your BMI is 30.0 or higher, it falls within the obese range.
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How can you regulate your body weight?

Regular exercise not only helps you control your body weight, but it also helps you prevent or manage many health problems and concerns such as hypertension and stroke, depression and anxiety, diabetes and many others.

Regular exercises can help prevent excess weight gain or help maintain weight loss. When you engage in physical activity, you burn calories and the more intense the activity, the more calories you burn. Regular trips to the gym are great but one shouldn’t be worried if they can’t find time to exercise every day. Any amount of activity is better than none at all. It is advisable that for one to reap the benefits of exercise, one needs to get more active throughout the day by like taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Consistency is very key.

Dietary modification helps to regulate weight. The goal of dietary therapy is to reduce the total number of calories consumed and dietary adherence is an important predictor of weight loss, irrespective of the type of diet. It is recommended for one to choose a dietary pattern of healthful foods such as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension rather than focusing on a specific nutrient. The most preferred are diets which include: reductions in refined carbohydrates, processed meats, and foods high in sodium and trans-fat, moderation in unprocessed red meats, poultry, eggs, and milk, and high intake of fruits, nuts, fish, vegetables, vegetable oils, minimally processed whole grains, legumes, and yogurt.

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Additionally, for one to implement a successful dietary intervention, consider: eliminating high-caloric beverages, such as juices, sodas, and alcoholic beverage,s and processed foods such as potato chips, pastries and candy, which often are the source of unwanted calories. Instead, drink water throughout the day to stay hydrated. We also advise you to eat smaller portions and incorporate healthy snacks such as fresh fruit, vegetables and nuts, between meals. 

Get more sleep. This helps reset your body and prepares it for the next day. According to the National Institute of Health, those who do not get more sleep tend to eat more food than they need in-order to stay awake. Manage your stress well and do not let stress on your life.

Conclusively, let’s always be mindful about our body weight. We need to check our body weight regularly in order to avoid becoming candidates of the serious health consequences associated with overweight and obesity. We advise you to exercise regularly, eat fruits and vegetables, reduce fatty foods and learn better ways to manage your stress.

The authors; 
Oyaro Godfrey; is a BSc trained Midwife working with Lubaga Hospital and
Lilian Nuwabaine Luyima; a BSc-Nurse and MSN-Midwife & Women’s’ Health Specialist

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