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What's healthy?

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We've all been told about the dangers of being too fat or too thin, but how do you tell if your size is putting your health at risk or how much you should really weigh? We look at some of the best ways of assessing whether it's time to take action.

 Being too thin or too fat is unhealthy, but good health is about much more than just your weight. It depends on many things, including your family's medical history, your genes, whether you smoke, and the type of food you eat and how active you are. It's therefore difficult to set an exact ideal healthy weight that applies to everyone.

Many people have a distorted perception of what constitutes a healthy body weight. We're surrounded by images of glamorous people, many of whom are in fact underweight. Looking at yourself in the mirror isn't a very useful way to assess whether you're a healthy weight either. Most people compare themselves with others rather than by objective standards.

Doctors check your body size by measuring your weight and height. This calculation is known as the body mass index (BMI). Research has shown thatpeople within a certain range of body size tend to live the longest and enjoy the best health. You can check whether you have a healthy weight for your height using the table given.

Underweight BMI less than 18.5

Ideal BMI 18.5-25

Overweight BMI 25-30

Obese - should lose weight BMI 30-40

Very obese - lose weight now BMI greater than 40

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