Facts about being a healthy weight

Facts about being a healthy weight



It is not good for your health to be either overweight or underweight.

Being overweight can lead to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. Being underweight can also affect your health by putting you at higher risk of infection, causing tiredness and slowing down wound healing.Being a healthy weight means you feel better, have more energy and are less likely to develop chronic illnesses. To keep an eye on your weight, it is a good idea once a month to weigh yourself and to measure your waist every few weeks.

Waist measurement should be

• less than 80cm or 32 inches in women

• less than 94cm or 37 inches in men

49% of Irish men and 70% of Irish women exceed the above waist measurements.

Where weight is stored in the body is important.  People with excess weight around the tummy are more likely to develop health problems, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  If you notice your waist measurement increasing, reduce your energy intake from food and increase your activity.

Be Aware of the Calorie Difference



Bread, cereals, potatoes, pasta, and rice are the best type of calories (energy) for maintaining a healthy weight.  It is important to choose mostly WHOLEMEAL or WHOLEGRAIN choices, as these are more filling and check the serving sizes regularly.

Different types of bread and rolls can be used for variety, but be aware that some types may contain more calories than others.  For example, 2 slices of ‘thick cut’ pan bread or a bagel contain almost twice the calories as a bowl of porridge or a medium potato.  Choose wisely from these food options by choosing mostly foods from the top 2 rows in the table below.

Example of a Daily Eating Plan

Follow the serving sizes from the Food Pyramid


• Wholegrain or high fibre cereal or porridge* with low-fat milk, or

• Boiled or poached egg  

• Wholegrain bread or toast* with low fat spread • Fruit juice or fresh fruit (chopped on cereal)                                               

• Tea, coffee, milk or water

Mid-morning snack



• Fruit such as apple, banana, pear, 2 plums or kiwis, or

• 1 dessertspoon of unsalted nuts or seeds


• Lean meat, poultry, fish, low-fat cheese or egg (a small serving).

• A large serving of salad or vegetables or vegetable soup

• Wholegrain bread or small roll*

• Yogurt or glass of low-fat milk

• Fresh fruit

• Tea, coffee or water

Mid-afternoon snack



• Fresh fruit


• Fish, chicken, lean meat or alternative source of protein (a moderate serving)

• A large serving of a variety of vegetables or salad

• Potato, rice, pasta, yam or plantain*

• Glass of low-fat milk or yogurt

• Fresh or cooked fruit

• Tea, coffee or water


• Tea or milky drink made on low-fat milk.

* Number of servings depends on activity levels

Children from 5 years of age should be offered smaller serving sizes and these can be increased up to regular serving sizes as the child gets older.  It is very important that Top Shelf foods are limited for this age group so they do not fill up on calories from sugar and fat instead of eating healthy foods.




About Your Guide to Healthy Eating Using the Food Pyramid for Adults and Children over 5 years of age NEW

Take time to enjoy 3 meals a day sitting at a table. Eat slowly and chew your food properly. Eating while watching TV or the computer screen distracts you from the amount of food you eat and you may end up eating more than you need. • Always make time to have a breakfast – people who eat breakfast are more likely to be a healthy weight. • Alcohol contains calories, so if you drink, drink sensibly within recommended limits and preferably with meals. • If you eat a healthy balanced diet, you should not need to take food supplements, unless you are advised to do so by your doctor. However, al

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