It is no secret that having a healthy weight is important for our health. The bigger question is what is a healthy weight?
The answer unfortunately is not that simple - a healthy body weight is not one special number on a scale. There is no one perfect weight that is right for everyone. Body weight is certainly a very important measure of your health, but it is just one component of your health. Healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes.
Approach to Healthy Weights
The Northwestern Health Unit is committed to focusing on health promoting behaviours to achieve a healthy weight, rather than focusing on weight loss strategies. To reflect and support these values, our organization has created a new policy and procedure.
Here are the key messages of our Approach to Healthy Weights policy and procedure:
- Focus on health not weight. Weight is not an indicator of overall health.
- Focus on health for all individuals, regardless of weight. Environmental and policy initiatives created to improve health, eating, and activity should not use weight as a primary outcome.
- Promote population health approaches that make healthy behaviours not only the easy choice but the default.
- Recognize the importance of the social determinants of health in addressing health inequities.
To learn more, please download our Healthy Weights Key Messages.
Healthy eating and physical activity
Healthy eating and physical activity are two very important lifestyle behaviours that affect our weight. Age, family history, stress and sleep habits are other factors that can affect our body weight.
Instead of focusing on the number, start focusing on making healthy lifestyle changes. Set goals around lifestyle behaviours rather than weight. For example: aim to eat 2 more vegetables and fruit servings every day, or walk the dog three times per week. These are much more realistic and achievable goals. If you are making healthier lifestyle choices then you are taking steps to improve your health.
For more information on this policy, please contact Chelsea Socholotuk or Julie Slack at the Northwestern Health Unit.
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