What are the health benefits of losing weight?

If you're overweight or obese, losing weight can reduce your risk of some potentially serious health problems.

Most people who need to lose weight can get health benefits from losing even a small amount – about 5% – of their weight if they keep it off.

Health problems linked to being overweight

If you're overweight or obese, you have a higher risk of:

How do I know if I need to lose weight?

You can find out if you're overweight by calculating your body mass index (BMI). This shows whether you're a healthy weight for your height.

Work out your BMI with the BMI healthy weight calculator.

The size of your waist is also important. If it's too large, your risk of health problems is higher. See Why is my waist size important?

How can I lose weight safely?

The best way to lose weight is to make small, realistic changes to your diet and how physically active you are.

Get tips on how to start losing weight.

The amount of physical activity you should do depends on your age. For example, adults between the ages of 19 and 64 should do 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity physical activity. Find out more about the physical activity guidelines.  

Read the answers to more questions about food and diet.

Further information:

Couch to 5K

Regular running can reduce the risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke, boost your mood and keep your weight under control. In this video, watch how Laura went from fitness phobe to keen runner with the Couch to 5K programme.

Media last reviewed: 06/06/2016

Next review due: 06/06/2019

Page last reviewed: 01/10/2015

Next review due: 01/10/2017