25 Jun 2022

Facts about being a healthy weight

It is not good for your health to be either overweight or underweight.

It is not good for your health to be either overweight or underweight.

Being overweight can lead to heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. Being underweight can also affect your health by putting you at higher risk of infection, causing tiredness and slowing down wound healing.

To keep an eye on your weight, it is a good idea once a month to weigh yourself and to measure your waist every few weeks. Waist measurement should be

• less than 80cm or 32 inches in women

• less than 94cm or 37 inches in men

• 49% of Irish men and 70% of Irish women exceed the above waist measurements.

Where weight is stored in the body is important. People with excess weight around the tummy are more likely to develop health problems, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. If you notice your waist measurement increasing, reduce your energy intake from food and increase your activity. For weight loss advice see the safefood website

Be Aware of the Calorie Difference

Breads, cereals, potatoes, pasta and rice are the best type of calories (energy) for maintaining a healthy weight. It is important to choose mostly WHOLEMEAL or WHOLEGRAIN choices, as these are more filling and check the serving sizes regularly.

Different types of breads and rolls can be used for variety, but be aware that some types may contain more calories than others. For example, 2 slices of ‘thick cut’ pan bread or a bagel contain almost twice the calories as a bowl of porridge or a medium potato.

Example of a Daily Eating Plan

Follow the serving sizes from the Food Pyramid


•Wholegrain or high fibre cereal or porridge with low fat milk, or

•Boiled or poached egg

•Wholegrain bread or toast with lowfat spread

• Fruit juice or fresh fruit (choppedon cereal)

•Tea, coffee, milk or water

Mid morning snack

•Fruit such as apple, banana, pear, 2 plums or kiwis, or

•1 dessert spoon of unsalted nuts or seeds


• Lean meat, poultry, fish, low fat cheese or egg (a small serving).

• A large serving of salad or vegetables or vegetable soup

• Wholegrain bread or small roll

• Yogurt or glass of low fat milk

• Fresh fruit

• Tea, coffee or water

Mid afternoon snack

•Fresh Fruit


•Fish, chicken, lean meat or alternative source of protein (a moderate serving)

•A large serving of a variety of vegetables or salad

• Potato, rice, pasta, yam or plantain

•Glass of low fat milk or yogurt

•Fresh or cooked fruit

•Tea, coffee or water


•Tea or milky drink made on low fat milk.

Children from 5 years of age should be offered smaller serving sizes and these can be increased up to regular serving sizes as the child gets older. It is very important that Top Shelf foods are limited for this age group so they do not fill up on calories from sugar and fat instead of eating healthy foods. For further advice on healthy eating, see the factsheets on

Facts about being active

How much activity is enough? All children from 2- 18 years of age need at least 60 minutes a day every day. Adults from 18 years onwards (including people over 65) need at least 30 minutes on 5 days a week. This is the minimum for health and should be gradually increased over time.

Being regularly active can give you more energy, help relieve stress, improve your mental health and lower your risk of heart disease and cancer. It also helps you maintain a healthy weight. The more activity you do, the more health benefits you achieve. So move more every day!

Think about your average day and how you might include more activity into your lifestyle, then make a plan and set yourself weekly goals. It’s that easy! If you think you don’t have enough time, how about swapping 20-30 minutes of time spent watching TV or using the computer and going for a brisk walk instead.

You should feel warmer or be sweating slightly and aware that there’s an increase in your breathing and heart rate.

It is very important for children and adults to balance the amount of food eaten with enough activity to help control body weight.

To lose weight and to prevent weight gain

You may need 60-75 minutes a day to lose weight and to prevent weight gain BUT remember some activity is always better than none.

For more ideas on how to get active go to the Get Ireland Active website:

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