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Listening, informing, & supporting
Keeping a healthy body weight is really important if you are living with a long-term chest condition.
Your doctor or nurse will be able to work out what is a healthy weight for you.
If you are overweight, your body will have to work harder to get the oxygen it needs. This will make you feel more breathless and tired.
If you are underweight, you may be at greater risk of infection, have less energy and feel less able to cope with your health. If you notice you are losing weight, or you are having trouble eating, speak to your doctor. You may be referred to a dietitian who can advise you on your diet and meeting your nutritional requirements.
It is a good idea to be as close as you can to your ideal weight, this is best achieved by controlling your weight through a balance of eating healthily and keeping as active as you can. Your body mass index (BMI) and your waist measurement are both accurate ways of assessing if you are overweight.
Body mass index (BMI) is a measurement of body fat (based on height and weight) that applies to both adult men and women.
The number is calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in metres squared (m²). This is already done on some weight charts. Ideally you should aim for a BMI in the healthy weight category (18.5 to 25)
In the UK the following levels apply to help you work out what your BMI means:
Follow this link for an example of a website that will calculate your BMI for you. You can also download apps for your phone to monitor your weight and BMI.
The measurement of your waist size (circumference) is increasingly being regarded as a more accurate indicator of risk than your BMI. It provides information about where your body fat is stored. If you carry extra weight around your stomach (‘central obesity’) you are at increased risk of heart disease and stroke. Ideal healthy waist measurements for men and women are:
Some people with chest conditions get tired / breathless easily and find cooking and eating difficult. As a result you may not be meeting your energy needs and you may be underweight.
If you are underweight try to:
You will gain weight if you take in more calories from food than you use up (calories are a measure of energy). When this is balanced your weight will remain stable.
So, to lose weight you have to eat fewer calories and use up more energy by being more physically active.