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The current figures show that approximately one billion adults in the world are overweight and this number is increasing. A lack of physical activity and poor diet are regarded as the main contributors, with many pointing the finger at manufactured foods and a lifestyle of long hours at the computer or TV. Obesity is now considered one of the biggest killers in the modern world. Exercise remains one of the best ways to lose weight. Did you know that physical activities account for 25-50% of our total energy expenditure? 
What is ideal weight? Well, it seems like a simple concept but many factors contribute to the answer so we’re going to give you some more information to help you to decide what your ideal weight might be.
There are three main models for calculating ideal weight: the Devine Formula, the Hamwi Method  and Body Mass Index (BMI) , which is the most commonly used method to determine whether a person is overweight or underweight for their height. 
Note that the BMI formula gives a good general indication but does not always give completely accurate results because it doesn’t make allowances for factors like bone density, fat percentage or muscle size – which can make a significant difference. For example a bodybuilder may have a lot more lean muscle mass, giving them a higher weight even if they have low body fat. A more complete formula has been proposed by an Oxford mathematician that includes other important factors such as gender, age and body type. 
It is widely accepted as a general guide that a person should aim to keep their waist circumference below half the size of their height. For example a person 5’6″ tall should stay below 33″ waist size for optimum health.
This is interesting: A recent large scale study gave an unexpected result – being slightly overweight may reduce your overall risk of mortality!  This could be due to the protective effect of having higher metabolic reserves. Also for women it is usually safer than being underweight for a healthier pregnancy. Dieting during pregnancy is not recommended as it could reduce the supply of energy and nutrients to the growing fetus. 
In recent years, surgery and chemical drugs for weight loss are being promoted – and some of these methods are drastic. There are many risks involved so in nearly all cases it pays to stay with the tried and tested methods of regular exercise and a healthy, balanced diet!
The other aspect to consider is psychological. Being overweight or obese can cause a lot of emotional trouble, especially in a western society that generally favours the slim body (in many parts of Africa and India the opposite is still true!) Unfortunately, for some people this can lead to judgement from others, a negative body image and low self-esteem. The same can be true if you’re underweight.
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