What is a Healthy Weight?

A healthy weight is one that lowers your risk of certain health conditions. Weight ranges above normal, called overweight and obesity, are linked to increased risk of health problems.

What Causes Overweight and Obesity?

Overweight and obesity are caused by eating more calories than are burned.  Our bodies need fuel in the form of calories. We burn some of these calories through physical activity. When we eat more calories than we burn, the extra calories are stored as fat. Having too much stored fat can lead to health problems for both adults and children. By decreasing calories through better nutrition and increasing physical activity we can balance the “energy scale” and maintain a healthy weight.

How Can I Reach or Maintain a Healthy Weight?

The best way to reach and maintain a healthy weight is to balance the energy scale by consuming a healthy diet and being physically active. If you are looking to lose weight, making small changes to burn a few more calories (like taking the stairs) or eat a few less calories (like switching from 2% milk to skim) can help you tip the energy scale in your favor. If you are looking to maintain your weight, you should continue to eat a healthy diet and be physically active regularly.  Don’t be fooled by weight loss gimmicks that promise results without eating healthy or being physically active…you know what they say, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

Effects of Overweight and Obesity

Health Effects

Being overweight or obese increases the risk of developing certain health conditions. Follow the links below to find out more about healthy weight issues for persons with: 

Children are particularly at-risk for developing Type 2 diabetes if they are overweight. Women who are obese before pregnancy are at a greater risk than average-weight women for having babies with certain birth defects. (more)


Economic Effects

The economic consequences of overweight, obesity, and their associated health problems are great. In 2002, overweight and obesity costs were estimated at over $92 billion, with half of the cost being covered by Medicare and Medicaid (Finkelstein, Fiebelkorn, Wang 2003). In Rhode Island alone, the cost of obesity has been estimated at $305 million.
$305 Million Annual Medical Cost of Obesity in Rhode Island Media Release: January 21, 2004