featuredpages artid 10 title Weight Loss

Weight Loss


Obesity Being obese is different from being overweight. Obesity is defined as being 20% or more over the maximum desirable weight for a man’s height or 25% or more in females. Obesity is an important condition which causes significant morbidity and mortality through increased rates of type 2 diabetes mellitus, heart disease, some cancers and arthritis.

For more information, see Obesity.

Assessing obesity

Body mass index (BMI)

Body mass index The body mass index (BMI) is a physical measurement used to assess an individual’s total amount of body fat. Depending on the BMI value calculated, you may be underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese.

For more information, see Body Mass Index (BMI).  

  Body Mass Index (BMI) Calculator
  Enter your height and weight below to find out your BMI.
  What does this mean?

This tool needs Javascript enabled to run.

The formula for calculating your body mass index is:
BMI = weight (kilograms) / (height (metres) * height (metres))

For example:
A man who weighs 85 kilograms and is 1.8 metres tall would have a BMI of
BMI = 85 / (1.8 * 1.8)
BMI = 85 / 3.24
BMI = 26.2

This information will be collected for educational purposes, however it will remain anonymous.


Waist circumference (WC)

Waist circumference Measuring a person’s waist circumference (WC) is the simplest way to assess central obesity, the excess accumulation of fat in the abdominal area. Excess abdominal fat will predispose obesity-related disease, regardless of overall body fat.

For more information, see Waist Circumference (WC).  

Waist to hip ratio (WHR)

Waist to hip ratio The waist to hip ratio (WHR) is calculated by dividing waist circumference by hip circumference. The score from the WHR predicts the risk of developing several conditions associated with excess abdominal fat.

For more information, see Waist to Hip Ratio (WHR).  

Lady measuring waist

Waist to Hip Ratio

Enter the waist and hip measurements below and the WHR will be calculated.

  Male Female
Are you a male or a female?

Measure your waist circumference.
You must stand straight and relaxed, make sure you are not pulling in your stomach muscles. The tape measure must circle the body at the level of your naval (belly button).

Enter your waist circumference in cm:

Measure your hip circumference.
The tape measure must circle the body at the level of the hips, this will be the largest diameter around the buttocks.

Enter your hip circumference in cm:


Your waist to hip ratio is .
You do not have excess body fat distribution. Please remember that Waist to Hip ratio (WHR) is not a valid measure for underweight individuals and therefore must be conducted along with Body Mass Index (BMI). If your WHR is less than  and your BMI is lower than 20 you are underweight.
Your waist to hip ratio is . Ideal is less than
You have excess abdominal fat distribution. You could be at risk of developing several obesity-related health conditions. Make sure you make an appointment with your doctor for a clinical evaluation.

  1. Panoulas VF, Ahmad N, Fazal AA, et al. The inter-operator variability in measuring waist circumference and its potential impact on the diagnosis of the metabolic syndrome. Postgraduate Medical Journal. 2008; 84(993):344-7.
  2. McArdle WD, Katch FI, Katch VL. Exercise Physiology: Energy, Nutrition, and Human Performance. 5th Ed. Baltimore: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2001.
  3. Wahlqvist ML. Australia and New Zealand: Food and Nutrition. 2nd Ed. Crows Nest: Allen and Unwin; 2002.
  4. Tovee MJ, Benson, PJ, Emery JL, Mason SM, Cohen-Tovee EM. Measurement of body size and shape perception in eating-disordered and control observers using body-shape software. The British Journal of Psychology. 2003; 94: 501-16.

This information will be collected for educational purposes, however it will remain anonymous.

This tool needs javascript enabled to work.

To calculate your waist to hip ratio, divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement.

wthr = waist / hip
wthr = 74cm / 93cm
wthr = 0.798

For men, a ratio of less than 0.9 is healthy, for women, less than 0.8.

If your waist to hip ratio is greater than this you have excess absominal fat distribution. You could be at risk of developing several obesity-related health conditions. Make sure you make an appointment with your doctor for a clinical evaluation.

Please remember that Waist to Hip ratio is not a valid measure for underweight individuals and therefore must be conducted along with Body Mass Index (BMI). If your WHR is less than 0.9 for men or 0.8 for women and your BMI is lower than 20 you are underweight.


Discussing obesity with a friend or loved one

Obesity Our views on body image mean that weight is often a very personal and sensitive issue. As such, addressing the issue of weight can often be very tricky. Overweight people often have low self-esteem – the last thing they need is someone telling them they must lose weight. A better approach may be to encourage them to join you in making healthier lifestyle choices.

For more information, see Discussing Obesity with a Friend or Loved One.     

Metabolic syndrome

Metabolic syndrome Metabolic syndrome is an alarmingly common health condition, occurring in 20–25% of the world’s population. In Australia, it is estimated that one in three people over the age of 25 years have the condition. Metabolic syndrome is diagnosed when a number of metabolic abnormalities (including insulin resistance and obesity) occur at the same time in an individual.

For more information, see Metabolic Syndrome.

Glycaemic index (GI)

Glycaemic index The glycaemic index (GI) is a numerical index assigned to a food. It is obtained by measuring the effect that a carbohydrate containing food has on blood sugar levels, compared to the effect of the same amount of pure sugar, on blood sugar levels. By consuming a diet with a lower GI, you can reduce your risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes and arterial diseases.

For more information, see Glycaemic Index (GI).  

Glycaemic load (GL)

Glycaemic load The problem with the GI is that it doesn’t provide an accurate picture of the entire blood sugar raising potential of the food. The blood sugar response depends on both the quantity and quality of carbohydrates consumed. The glycaemic load (GL) is an extension of the GI, taking into account the quantity of carbohydrates as well.

For more information, see Glycaemic Load (GL).   

Weight loss tools 

Calorie Counter
Calculate your daily calorie intake and compare it to your recommended daily intake.

Click here to complete the Calorie Counter

quiz icon Healthy Eater
Are you a healthy eater?. Choose what food you eat in a typical day and find out how healthy your diet is.

What effect is alcohol having on you?

Enter your weekly alcohol intake to find out how you rate.


Mediterranean diet

Mediterranean diet The Mediterranean diet comes from the Mediterranean region, which includes countries such as Greece, Turkey, Malta and Italy. It is a diet based on plant foods. It is high in N-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and phytochemicals. Fat intake under the Mediterranean diet consists predominately of monounsaturated fats. The diet is also low in cholesterol, salt and sugar.

For more information, see Mediterranean Diet.     

Shopping guide for healthy food choices

Shopping These days, many consumers pick foods depending on the attraction and temptation of the label on the front of the food packaging. However, these labels are often full of marketing hype and can contain misleading claims. To become educated consumers, we should turn to the sides and back of the food product and read the labels carefully. 

For more information, see Shopping Guide for Healthy Food Choices.  

Obesity treatments

Obesity treatments Traditional methods for weight loss include reducing calorie intake, increasing physical activity, and behaviour therapy. Recently, increasing levels of obesity and associated medical conditions has heightened interest in both pharmacological and surgical treatments for weight loss. In most cases you will be treated with a combination of therapies.

For more information, see An Introduction to Obesity Treatments.    

Lifestyle changes for obesity and weight loss

Lifestyle changes Lifestyle changes remain the mainstay of treatment and are important for the long term maintenance of weight loss. All long term treatment programs require at least some lifestyle changes. Positive changes in your eating and exercise behaviour are essential for sustained reductions in weight.

For more information, see Lifestyle Changes for Obesity and Weight Loss.

Cognitive behavioural therapy for weight loss

Cognitive behavioural therapy Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a type of psychological therapy used to treat many different problems, ranging from anxiety to weight loss. CBT is not used by itself to lose weight, but rather to support lifestyle changes. People who use both CBT and lifestyle changes lose more weight than those who only make lifestyle changes.

For more information, see Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Weight Loss.

Nutrition for lowering cholesterol levels

Nutrition In general, the higher your LDL cholesterol and the lower your HDL cholesterol, the greater your risk for atherosclerosis and heart disease. Therefore, the guiding principle is to strive for low LDL and high HDL. Dietary changes are often the first things attempted to try to lower cholesterol levels.

For more information, see Nutrition for Lowering Cholesterol Levels.

Liver cleansing diet 

Liver cleansing diet Liver cleansing diets claim to remove toxins that are clogging the liver. This cleansing of the liver is proposed to help it to work more efficiently, leading to weight loss. A range of nutritional supplements and liver tonics are often recommended to accompany liver cleansing diets.

For more information, see Liver Cleansing Diet. 

Meal replacement programs

Meal replacement programs Meal replacement programs work by replacing meals per day with specialised formula food, which are a complete meal. Formulated meal replacements take various forms, including powders, drinks, soups, bars and biscuits. Meal replacement programs combine a meal replacement regimen with additional health supports such as physiotherapists.

For more information, see Meal Replacement Programs.  

Weight loss drugs

Weight loss drugs Weight loss drugs are designed to help people who are classified as obese lose weight. Weight loss drugs should only be used in those who are morbidly obese, have a BMI above 30 who have failed to lose weight with a lifestyle program, or have a BMI above 27 in whom risk factors are already present.

For more information, see Weight Loss Drugs. 

Growth hormone for weight loss

Growth hormone Growth hormone (GH) is a hormone produced by the cells of the pituitary gland, a small gland found in the brain. Obese individuals are known to have low levels of GH. Growth hormone reduces obesity through its actions on two enzymes which control lipolysis and lipogenesis.

For more information, see Growth Hormone for Weight Loss.  

Bariatric surgery

Bariatric surgery Surgery is often considered a last resort for patients with severe obesity with associated medical problems where other interventions have failed. Many surgical techniques have been used to treat obesity, changing in popularity over time and in different countries. The procedures differ in their abilities to produce weight loss and their side effects and risks.

For more information, see Bariatric Surgery. 

Gastric banding

Gastric banding Gastric banding is an operation performed under general anaesthetic. An adjustable band is placed around the top of the stomach to create a small pouch to hold food. The band is attached via a thin tube to a small "port" or reservoir, which allows the surgeon to increase the tightness of the band at a later stage.

For more information, see Gastric Banding.  


Gastroplasty Gastroplasty is available for the management of morbid obesity. It limits and reduces the amount of food intake possible, and is also known as ‘stomach stapling’. The upper part of the stomach is vertically stapled into a small pouch of 20–30 mL, which is then connected to the rest of the stomach through a small outlet.

For more information, see Gastroplasty.   


Liposuction Liposuction is a cosmetic surgery procedure which involves the removal of excess body fat from under the skin from various parts of the body using a cannula and a suction device. The most common areas that are treated are the abdomen, thighs, buttocks, arms and neck.

For more information, see Liposuction. 

Article Tools:

E-mail E-mail Bookmark/Add to Favourites
Print Print

Featured Page Dates:

calendar icon Created: 17/2/2009 calendar icon Modified: 13/7/2009