Overweight and Obesity Prevention:
The Importance of a Healthy Weight
Maintaining a healthy weight is an extremely important part of overall health. Being overweight or obese contributes to numerous health conditions that limit the quality and length of life, including:
- Dyslipidemia (for example, high total cholesterol or high levels of triglycerides)
- Type 2 diabetes
- Coronary heart disease
- Gallbladder disease
- Sleep apnea and respiratory problems
- Some cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon)
What we can do
Maintaining a healthy weight is not always easy. The key to success is making changes in daily eating and physical activity habits that can be maintained over one’s lifetime.
Our weight is a result of the combination of the energy one takes in (through foods and beverages) and the energy their body uses (through engaging in physical activity). To lose weight, an individual needs to use more calories than they consume. To maintain a healthy weight, one needs to balance the calories they use with those they take in. Some ways to create a caloric deficit are:
- Spend less time in sedentary activities (e.g., watching television, internet surfing)
- Engage in daily physical activities (e.g., walking, bicycling, gardening, housework)
- Eat more fruits and vegetables and reduce food portion sizes
What we can do as a community
Obesity is more than simply an individual problem, it has become a community problem, driving up health care costs and decreasing productivity. Communities can play a huge role in improving the health of its members by increasing healthy choices through efforts like Complete Streets and Safe Routes to School, as well as increasing access to healthy foods in schools and in the community.
Find out what communities across Minnesota are doing through the Statewide Health Improvement Program.