Maintaining a Healthy Weight

When it comes to weight loss, there’s no lack of fad diets promising quick results. But such diets limit nutritional intake, can be unhealthy and tend to be a temporary fix. Americans are collectively gaining weight at an alarming rate, with the average adult weighing about 15 pounds more than 20 years ago. In defining obesity, nutritionists focus on body mass index (BMI): a healthy person has a BMI of 18.5 to 24, while an obese person has a BMI above 30. Today, about 40 percent of U.S. adults and nearly 20 percent of children are obese, a surge reflected worldwide, with more people now overweight or obese (1.9 billion) than underfed (800 million), according to the World Health Organization.

A high amount of body fat can lead to weight-related diseases and other health issues and being underweight can also put one at risk for health issues. BMI is a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters. Calculating your BMI is an inexpensive and easy way to assess your weight. A high BMI can be an indicator of high body fat content and having a low BMI can be an indicator of having too low body fat content. Visit to calculate your BMI.

There are two main factors that affect your weight: healthy eating and physical activity. A healthy lifestyle involves many choices. An important decision one makes daily is choosing a healthy eating plan. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020, a healthy eating plan: emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts, is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt, and added sugar, and stays within your daily calorie needs.

Since high-calorie foods are everywhere, it’s important to take the time to plan to make sure you have healthy options available. Meal planning can help you work toward your ideal weight by preparing to add in plenty of healthy ingredients to fuel your body each day.

Regular physical activity is important for overall well-being and is especially important if you are trying to lose weight, or to maintain a healthy weight. When it comes to weight management, people vary greatly in how much physical activity they need. If you haven’t been physically active in a while, start slowly and work your way up to more physically challenging activities. For many people, walking is a particularly good place to begin. Look for opportunities to reduce sedentary time and to increase active time. For example, instead of watching TV after dinner, try taking a walk. When necessary, divide the daily activity goal into smaller amounts of time. Break the recommended 30-minutes of activity per day into three 10-minute sessions, or two 15-minute sessions. People with chronic diseases, such as a heart condition, arthritis, diabetes, or high blood pressure, should talk to their doctor about what types and amounts of physical activity are appropriate.

Staying in control of your weight contributes to good health now and as you age. Maintaining a healthy weight through weight loss or gain is essential for your overall well-being. Join Jennifer Flom, DO, Internal Medicine, at our free lecture on Wednesday, November 6, at the Roxborough YMCA to learn what food choices, ideal portion sizes, and exercise tips will help you reach your healthiest weight. Registration required. Call 215-753-2000. Free!

Located in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia and a member of Tower Health, Chestnut Hill Hospital is a 148-bed, community-based, university-affiliated, teaching hospital committed to excellent patient-centered care. Chestnut Hill Hospital provides a full range of inpatient and outpatient, diagnostic and treatment services for people in northwest Philadelphia and eastern Montgomery County. With more than 300 board-certified physicians, Chestnut Hill Hospital’s specialties include minimally invasive laparoscopic and robotic surgery, cardiology, gynecology, oncology, orthopedics, urology, family practice and internal medicine. Chestnut Hill Hospital is accredited by The Joint Commission and is affiliated with university-hospitals in Philadelphia for heart and stroke care and residency programs. For more information, visit