How to Control Your Weight

Overweight and obesity are both labels for ranges of weight that are greater than what is generally considered healthy for a given height. The terms also identify ranges of weight that have been shown to increase the likelihood of certain diseases and other health problems.

The global epidemic of overweight and obesity - "globesity" - is rapidly becoming a major public health problem in many parts of the world. The increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity is associated with many diet-related chronic diseases including diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, stroke, hypertension and certain cancers.

What causes obesity and overweight?

Energy imbalance between calories consumed on one hand, and calories expended on the other hand. Global increases in overweight and obesity are attributable to a number of factors including:

• Shift in diets towards increased intake of energy-dense foods that are high in fat and sugars but low in vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients; and
• A trend towards decreased physical activity due to the increasingly sedentary nature of many forms of work, changing modes of transportation, and increasing urbanization.

How to control your weight:

• Achieve energy balance and a healthy weight

Energy is another word for "calories." Your energy balance is the balance of calories consumed through eating and drinking compared to calories burned through physical activity. What you eat and drink is ENERGY IN. What you burn through physical activity is ENERGY OUT.

Weight gain is caused by an imbalance between energy intake (food) and energy expenditure (activity). Find your balance between food and physical activity by eating healthy as suggested below and increasing your physical activity.

The same amount of ENERGY IN (calories consumed) and ENERGY OUT (calories burned) over time = weight stays the same

More IN than OUT over time = weight gain More OUT than IN over time = weight loss


For women estimated calorie intake is about 1600 to 2200 calories depending on your level of physical activity.
For men the estimated calorie intake is approximately 2000 – 3000 calories depending on your level physical activity.

• Limit energy intake from total fats.

• Shift fat consumption away from saturated fats like butter and lard to unsaturated fats like olive oil and/or sunflower oil. An adult should limit their intake of oil to a maximum of 500ml per month.

• Increase consumption of fruit (apples, berries, pawpaw etc) and vegetables (green leaf vegetables, carrots etc) , as well as legumes (beans), whole grains (oatmeal, whole meal bread) and nuts;

• Limit the intake of sugars (e.g. cakes, sweets, chocolates, sodas); and

• Increase physical activity - at least 30 minutes of regular, moderate-intensity activity on most days. More activity (about 1 hour a day or more) may be required for weight control.