Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is vital to preventing obesity. This needs to include regular exercise and healthy eating.

If you're obese, it means:

  • you’re excessively overweight
  • your weight is above what it should be, for you to be healthy.

Being obese puts your health at serious risk. Obesity can cause diabetes, high blood pressure, cancers, arthritis, stroke and heart disease.

Most doctors and health professionals in New Zealand use the Body Mass Index (BMI) to establish whether people are obese. Your BMI is a number worked out from your height and weight to indicate whether you’re a healthy weight.

Related websites

The Ministry of Health has funded free access to this British Medical Journal website for those browsing the web from within New Zealand.

  • Obesity – what it is, how it’s diagnosed and what treatments are available.

Weight Management website
A site with a range of information and resources about how to manage your weight.

The Heart Foundation
New Zealand’s heart health charity has a number of useful resources, including the:

A free online fitness training programme that covers lifestyle, fitness and nutrition.

World Health Organization
The health authority led by the United Nations.

Women and Children's Health Network - Child and Youth Health
This website, by the South Australian government agency, has a parenting and child health section which has useful information on:

Better Health Channel
This Victorian (Australia) State Government website contains health and medical information on:

Find out more from the Ministry

  • Physical activity - Read key points from the New Zealand Physical Activity Guidelines and access stats about physical activity levels in New Zealand. 
  • Food and Nutrition Guidelines – various guidelines available for adults, children, teenagers and different ethnic groups.
  • Nutrition – looks at why nutrition and physical activity are important in preventing obesity.
  • Obesity - Access statistics, key facts, Q&As and publications about obesity.