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Guide to Diabetes

Managing Your Weight - why is it important?

Measuring your waist size or working out your Body Mass Index (BMI) are two simple ways to check whether your weight or body shape are putting your health at risk.


How Do I Shape Up?

If you are overweight, your body cannot use insulin as well as it should. This could mean your diabetes is not as well controlled as it could be. Carrying extra weight around your middle also increases your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. 
People carrying weight around the middle are often referred to as apple-shaped, whereas those carrying weight around their hips are pear-shapedPeople that are ‘apple-shaped’ have greater health risks compared with those that are ‘pear shaped’, even if they are both overweight.


What is my waist measurement?


 Measuring your waist is a way of finding out whether you are an ‘apple’ or ‘pear’ shape.
To measure your waist:
1.    Find the bottom of your ribs and the top of your hip bone.
2.    Breathe out naturally.
3.    Place the tape measure mid way between these points (for many people this will be the tummy button).
4.    Check your measurement using the table below to see if you are at risk of ill health.


                                       Increased risk                  High risk

European men          ≥ 94 cm (37 inches)        ≥ 102cm (40 inches)

European women     ≥ 80 cm (31.5 inches)     ≥ 88cm (34.5 inches)

Asian Men                                                         ≥ 90 cm (35 inches)

Asian Women                                                    ≥ 80 cm (31.5 inches)

What’s my Body Mass Index?


Your Body Mass Index (BMI) is based on your height and weight and can be worked out using a BMI chart. 

To work out your BMI

  • Measure your height and weight. Using the BMI chart find your weight and draw a line down from this. Then find your height and draw a line across from this. Your BMI is where the two lines meet.
  • You can also work it out yourself. Take your weight in kilograms and divide it by your height in metres, squared. BMI = weight (kg)/(height (m) x height (m))

Use the table below to see which category/risk level you fit in:


                           European Adult              Asian Adult

Underweight     Up to 18.4kg/m2           Up to 18.4kg/m2

Healthy weight  18.5-24.9kg/m2             18.5-22.9kg/m2

(increased risk)  
25-29.9kg/m2                 23-27.4kg/m2

(high risk)          
Greater than 30kg/m2     Greater than 27.5kg/m2


What can I do to reduce my risk?

If you are at increased risk, think about what you can do to reduce your waist size and weight. Perhaps now would be a good time to make healthy lifestyle changes. Changing food choices and becoming more physically active could help you to lose weight and reduce your risk. 

What are the health benefits of losing weight?

Research has shown a 5-10 % weight loss can help the following:

  • Your diabetes control is likely to improve
  • You may be able to take fewer tablets or inject less insulin
  • You will reduce your risk of conditions such as heart disease, high Cholesterol and high blood pressure
  • You may become more mobile and able to do more activity
  • You may feel more confident


What can I do to get started?

Losing weight involves making permanent changes to what you eat and drink and increasing your level of activity. To be able to do this you may need help and support from friends and family. Read our section on losing weight to help you get started.

Updated at 2014-08-01 11:30:07 by Shehnaz Jamal