Which is more important: losing weight or improving health?

Body mass index (BMI), ideal weight, and standard weight categorize people as underweight, normal weight, overweight, and obese. In an ideal world, everyone falls in the normal weight category, right? Yet, that is not the reality. Many factors influence a person’s weight and body fat.

Age – Gender
Ethnicity – Genetics – Hormones
Dietary choices – Sleep – Physical activity
Environment – Diseases – Medications
Finances – Stress

There are even studies about the “obesity paradox,” a phenomenon in which overweight and obese people live longer than people with a normal BMI. Research into why this occurs in older adults and people with chronic diseases is ongoing. However, that does not mean a person should embrace being overweight or obese. We know that the extra pounds are linked to increased risk for cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, diabetes, mobility problems, and more.

Instead, realize that a focus on improving health is most important. As you embrace your Balanced Habits KICK START program, focus on the health benefits more than weight changes. Engage in healthy behaviours you can make, such as:

  • Choose healthier fats such as avocado, nuts and seeds, olive oil
  • Enjoy higher fibre foods
  • Establish routine meal and snack times
  • Replace fast foods and junk food with home-prepared foods and fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Use a food diary to record when, why, and what you eat
  • Engage in regular exercise and strength training
  • Hang out with friends who make health a priority

You may discover that a change from weight loss to healthy behaviours changes your mindset and decreases your stress level. Weight loss can become secondary to the primary goal of being your healthiest self.

A note from WHO on world health day 

“On World Health Day, 7 April 2021, we will be inviting you to join a new campaign to build a fairer, healthier world. We’ll be posting more details here shortly, but here’s why we’re doing this:

Our world is an unequal one.

  • As COVID-19 has highlighted, some people can live healthier lives and have better access to health services than others – entirely due to the conditions in which they are born, grow, live, work and age.
  • All over the world, some groups struggle to make ends meet with little daily income, have poorer housing conditions and education, fewer employment opportunities, experience greater gender inequality and have little or no access to safe environments, clean water and air, food security, or health services. This leads to unnecessary suffering, avoidable illness, and premature death. And it harms our societies and economies.
  • This is not only unfair: it is preventable. That is why we call on leaders to ensure that everyone has living and working conditions conducive to good health. At the same time, we urge leaders to monitor health inequities and to ensure that all people can access quality health services when and where they need them. 
  • COVID-19 has hit all countries hard, but its impact has been harshest on those communities which were already vulnerable, who are more exposed to the disease, less likely to have access to quality health care services, and more likely to experience adverse consequences because of measures implemented to contain the pandemic.