Health Defence Scotland October 31, 2019 Do YOU know your numbers? Do YOU know your numbers? There are so many numbers that we collect that are connected to our health. Some of these we collect without thinking about it. For example what number do you read when you stand on the scales? Others you’ll be familiar with. When you go along to health appointments, questions like, “how many cigarettes a day do you smoke?” Have you ever stopped to think or ask, what do all these numbers mean? Why, are they important to my health? Health Defence Scotland is supporting us to live healthier lives. At our free health checks we measure your height, weight, waist, blood pressure, pulse rate and cholesterol. We give you our health defence passport to keep and record all your numbers in. We have trained experts who can help explain what these numbers mean. Our weight is often recorded in kilograms, rather than "old money" of stones and pounds. This is because kilograms is the metric measurement. Kilograms are used to calculate, for example drug dosages or body mass index. Body mass index is a measure of how tall you are, over how heavy you are. Do you know what your weight is in both kilograms and stones and pounds? Do you know what is a healthy weight is for you? Scientists have shown through research that if you are overweight for your height, a 5% weight loss over 3 to 4 months can reduce your risk of health conditions such as Type 2 Diabetes. If you are overweight, and there are now more overweight than healthy weight adults living in Scotland, could you calculate what a 5% weight loss would look like for you? Losing weight can help to reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke, so why wait to lose weight? Have you ever tried to lose weight but found it difficult? Lost a little and then regained it? First of all, write down your reasons for wanting to lose weight and change your lifestyle. Sometimes thinking about it on a scale of 1 to 10 can help- it’s another number! If you had to rank, with 1 being low and 10 being high, how important, is it to you at this moment in time to lose weight. If the answer is a low number, it may be that you are not ready right now to focus on losing weight. If the number is high, there are several first steps you can take. Find a support network. Are there friends, family, colleagues, health professionals who will support you on your weight loss journey? There might be a local weight loss group or website that will inspire you. Read our CHSS Health information booklet- healthy weight. Read Guide This has hints and tips to keep you on track. Set yourself a realistic target- a weight loss of 1-2 lbs per week is sensible. This is usually sufficient to reach that 5% weight loss target within 3 months. If you are worried about your weight, there are lots of people you can speak to. For example the Health Defence Team, your local pharmacist, Dietitian or other health professionals such as your Nurse or Doctor. They can all provide support and advice on how you can manage the numbers on the scales. So why wait to think about your weight? Written by Joanna Teece. Registered Dietitian. Health Defence Lead.