The body mass index (BMI) is a very useful tool to help you determine whether you're overweight, or not.
People with BMIs of 25 to 29.9 are considered overweight, while those with BMIs of 30 and above are considered obese. Those with BMIs of 18.5 or less are considered underweight.
So, if your BMI is over 25, it's probably safe to say that you need to lose some weight. However, certain factors, such as pregnancy, breastfeeding and the amount of lean muscle mass you have, can influence your BMI. For this reason, it's probably safest to ask a health professional, such as your GP or dietician, to advise you on whether you really need to lose weight.
But while your body mass index (BMI) will give you a good idea what your weight status is, and whether you need to shake a few kilos or not, there are certain circumstances that warrant immediate action with regards to weight loss.
If you're overweight and you also have high blood pressure.
If you're overweight and you also have elevated levels of total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, and triglycerides, and low levels of HDL-cholesterol.
If you're overweight and you also have elevated blood-glucose levels or if you've been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
If one (or more) of these factors apply to you, it's best to consult a healthcare professional about an adequate weight-loss programme as soon as possible.
Click here to calculate your BMI
- (Health24, updated April 2011)