Healthy Weight for Adults/Tinana Ora mō te Pakeke

Healthy Weight for Adults/Tinana Ora mō te Pakeke

HE Code: 
Booklet A5
Publication date: 
November 2010
Revision date: 
December 2014
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Food information for adults. Promotes a healthy lifestyle through daily activity or exercise, food variety, less fatty food, reducing fat and sugar, lower-fat fast foods, healthy kai, improved health, body shape and size.

Improve your health and maintain a healthy weight by keeping active and choosing healthy foods.

Being fit and active reduces your chances of becoming overweight, which can lead to Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, strokes and some cancers.

Eat a variety of healthy foods each day.

Being healthy means being active, eating well, and maintaining a healthy body weight, rather than dieting on and off, counting calories, or trying strenuous exercise you can’t keep up. Feel good about yourself.

  • Be active every day.
  • Enjoy eating a variety of foods.
  • Eat less fatty food.
  • Cut down on sugar and salt.
  • Make gradual changes to your lifestyle.

Steps to a Healthy Lifestyle
Be Active Every Day

View movement in your daily life as an opportunity, not an inconvenience. Find out what works for you.

Regular physical activity is important for a healthy lifestyle. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate activity most days. Moderate aerobic activity (brisk walking, aqua aerobics, biking on the flat) makes you breathe a little harder and slightly increases your heart rate.

Be active in as many ways as possible – take the stairs rather than the lift, get off the bus early and walk. Move more and sit less.

Thirty minutes a day will help you to:

  • have more energy
  • feel more relaxed, confident and able to deal with stress
  • keep bones and muscles strong and joints flexible
  • maintain a healthy weight
  • sleep better
  • improve cholesterol and blood-sugar levels
  • reduce the risks of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, strokes, and some types of cancer
  • live independently at home longer.

If possible, add some vigorous activity for extra health and fitness. Vigorous activity (jogging, mowing with a handmower, fast lap swimming) makes you puff and noticeably increases your heart rate.

If you are trying to lose weight, at least 60 minutes of moderate aerobic activity is recommended on most if not all days of the week.

Check with a doctor or nurse if you have any concerns about becoming more physically active.

Remember to drink plenty of water when exercising.

Choose a Variety of Food Each Day

  • Eat lots of colourful vegetables, salad and fruit.
  • Include breads, cereals, grains, rice, noodles, pasta, potato, kūmara or taro. Choose wholegrain breads and cereals for extra fibre.
  • Have some low-fat milk, cheese, yoghurt or milk-based food every day.
  • Include at least one serving of lean meat, seafood, chicken or egg, or at least two servings of legumes (eg lentils, split peas, chickpeas) or cooked dried beans (eg red kidney beans, baked beans) each day.
  • Limit the amount of sugar you have. Cakes, biscuits, chocolate, sweet spreads, dried fruits, juice and soft drinks all contain a lot of sugar.
  • Remember that drinks containing alcohol are high in energy and may contribute to weight gain.

Go easy on butter, margarine, cream, sour cream, mayonnaise and cheese sauces. They add extra fat.

Eat Less Fatty Food

It is easier to gain weight if you eat lots of food, including high-fat food. Give yourself time to get used to foods lower in fat. Eat smaller portions, especially of foods high in fat.

Eat more of foods low in fat:

  • vegetables and fruit
  • breads, cereals, pasta, rice or grains
  • lower-fat milk, cheese and yoghurt
  • lean meat, seafood, skinned chicken, eggs or lentils and beans.

Eat less of foods high in fat:

  • butter, margarine, coconut cream, sour cream, cream cheese, cheese or mayonnaise
  • oils, dripping, lard
  • fried foods
  • fatty meats
  • pies, pastry, cakes, biscuits, croissants
  • potato chips, chocolate, ice cream
  • high-fat takeaways such as fried chicken or fish and chips.

Tips to Reduce the Fat and Sugar in your Diet

  • Set goals and make 1–2 changes at a time.
  • Spread margarine and butter thinly – try alternative spreads spread thinly such as light mayonnaise, cottage cheese, chutney or relish.
  • Choose wholegrain foods as they are more filling.
  • Use lower-fat milk, cheese, yoghurt and salad dressings.
  • When shopping, read and compare labels on different products so that you can choose the products lower in fat and sugar.
  • Cut the fat from meat before cooking.
  • Serve fatty meats less often – have rissoles, sausages, salami or tinned corned beef only occasionally.
  • Grill, steam, boil, microwave or stir-fry instead of frying foods.
  • Skim fat from stews or boil-ups when cool.
  • Eat chicken without the skin.
  • Have smaller servings of meat (eg, 2–3 slices or 100 g).
  • Dilute coconut cream with water or use ‘lite’ milk or ‘lite’ coconut cream.
  • Keep pies, pastry, biscuits, cakes and puddings for special occasions only – not every day.
  • Drink water or low-energy drinks instead of juices and soft drinks as these are high in sugar.
  • Cook at home so that you can control the fat content of your meals.

Ideas for Lower Fat Fast Food

Remember that deep-fried takeaways tend to be higher in fat.

Choose fast foods such as:

  • stir-fry or chow mein with steamed rice
  • baked potatoes with low-fat topping
  • sandwiches made with wholegrain bread
  • filled rolls
  • toasted sandwiches with wholegrain bread and low-fat fillings, ie, corn, spaghetti or baked beans
  • doner kebabs
  • pita breads.

Enjoy Eating Out

  • Look for the lower fat choices on the menu.
  • Ask for meals without fatty extras such as sour cream, cream, creamy sauces or extra cheese.
  • Include iced water with your meal – limit alcohol.

Use ready-made convenience foods from the supermarket instead of fast foods, eg:

  • rotisseried chicken (skin removed)
  • cold meats (except salami)
  • fresh vegetables and fruit
  • sushi
  • salads (no mayonnaise)
  • pasta sauces (tomato-based)
  • fresh wholegrain breads
  • low-fat frozen dinners.

Remember, the to reduce fat in foods can still apply to these convenience foods.

Healthy Kai

Many foods traditionally enjoyed by Māori, including kūmara, potatoes, puha and watercress, are a healthy low-fat choice.

Meat, game, poultry and seafood are important, but in moderate amounts. Hangi food is great because the food is steamed, but cut the fat from the meat before cooking and cook more vegetables than meat.

Boil-ups can be high in fat. Trim the fat from the meat. Change the water during cooking. Cool the cooked meat in the fridge and remove the fat before reheating.

Trimmed pork bones are a lower fat choice than brisket.

Boil or steam vegetables separately from the meat so they do not become fatty.

Kia Maumahara:

  • me whakakorikori koe i a koe
  • me iti iho tō kai i ngā kai mōmona
  • ko te huka, me te tote, me āta kai
  • kia pai ki a koe te kai i ngā momo kai katoa e ora ake ai koe
  • me āta whakarerekē i te āhua o tō noho.

Help Yourself to Improved Health

  • Take time to enjoy your food. Don’t eat on the run.
  • Talk to your doctor or nurse before embarking on a diet or exercise regime.
  • Always have breakfast. Don’t let yourself get too hungry. This can increase the cravings for high-fat and high-sugar foods.
  • Eat regularly. Skipping meals makes you hungry.
  • When shopping, read and compare labels on different products so that you can choose the products lower in fat and sugar.
  • Drink water throughout the day. Try taking a drink bottle with you.
  • Limit alcohol. Add water, ice or low-calorie mixers.
  • Shop wisely – not when you are hungry. Make it easier for yourself – buy healthy foods to have at home.
  • Go easy on salt and on sugary foods and drinks.
  • Be Smokefree.

Be realistic – any weight loss should be slow. A kilogram a month is fine.

Focus on gradual changes to your lifestyle rather than on short-term loss of weight. Very low-calorie or crash diets may cause quick weight loss, but often this weight returns. Dieting on and off causes your weight to go up and down, often adding extra weight after each attempt to diet.

Body Shape and Size

People come in a range of shapes and sizes. We are all very different.

However, too much body fat is not good for health. It can increase the risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

Men and women who are overweight often have too much fat around their waist. This is a greater risk to health than fat elsewhere.

Women often have extra fat around the hips and thighs. This is less of a risk to health.

What is BMI?

BMI stands for Body Mass Index. A BMI range of 18.50–24.99 is said to be healthy. BMI is a calculation where your weight in kilograms is divided by your height (in metres) times your height.

BMI = kilograms / (metres x metres)

For example, BMI = 75 kg / (1.8 m x 1.8 m) = 23

You can do this calculation to work out your own BMI.

Guide to Healthy Weight Range

You can use the table as a guide for your healthy weight range. Remember it is only a guide.

The table is for men and women, but it is not suitable for everyone, ie, younger (under 18) or older (over 69) people, very muscular people or pregnant women.

The weights in the table are worked out from a BMI range of 18.50–24.99.

Guide to a Healthy Weight Range

Height (without shoes) Healthy Weight Range
cm ft in kg st lb   st lb
158 5 46 - 62 7 3 9 11
160 5 3 47 - 64 7 6 10 1
162 5 49 - 66 7 10 10 6
164 5 50 - 67 7 12 10 8
166 5 51 - 69 7 8 10 12
Height (without shoes) Healthy Weight Range
cm ft in kg st lb   st lb
168 5 6 52–71 8 3 11 3
170 5 7 53–72 8 5 1 5
172 5 55–74 8 9 11 9
174 5 56–76 8 12 12 0
176 5 57–77 8 14 12 2
178 5 10 59–79 9 4 12 6
180 5 10¾ 60–81 9 6 12 11
182 5 11½ 61–83 9 8 13 1
184 6 ½ 63–85 9 13 13 5
186 6 64–86 10 1 13 8


Height (without shoes) Healthy Weight Range
cm ft in kg st lb   st lb
188 6 2 65–88 10 3 13 12
190 6 67–90 10 8 14 2
192 6 68–92 10 10 14 7
194 6 70–94 11 0 14 11
196 6 5 71–96 11 3 15 2
198 6 6 73–98 11 7 15 6
200 6 74–100 11 9 15 11

For more information

In the phone book, look under:

  • District Health Board and ask for the Public Health Unit or a dietitian
  • Dietitian (in the Yellow Pages) or registered nutritionist
  • New Zealand Nutrition Foundation
  • National Heart Foundation
  • Marae-based health services and/or Māori health workers
  • Pacific health workers

On the Internet, look for websites:

Ask your health worker for Eating for Healthy Adult New Zealanders, code HE1518, and Be Active Every Day, code HE2311. Produced with the assistance of Agencies for Nutrition Action, Hutt Valley Health and Te Hotu Manawa Māori

ISBN 978-0-478-19251-3 (print)
ISBN 978-0-478-19252-0 (online)