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Healthy Weight Matters

Excess body weight, particularly around your waist, contributes to insulin resistance which is a condition where your cells are less responsive to the effect of insulin. Having excess weight is going to make your blood glucose levels difficult to control. The best way to achieve weight loss and maintain a healthy weight is through changing your diet and being physically active (moving more).

Put simply:

  • Reduce the amount you eat.
  • Modify your carbohydrate intake.
  • Swap high for low GI foods (you won’t feel hungry).
  • Cut back on saturated fats.
  • Eat more regularly and don’t skip meals.
  • Moderate your protein intake.
  • Enjoy more vegetables (except starchy vegies such as potatoes) and fruit everyday.
  • Cut back on salt.


There is no ‘ideal diet’ for weight loss and diabetes management. Research has shown that the type of food you eat determines what it is going to burn and what is going to be stored as body fat and that certain foods are going to be more satisfying. That’s where low GI foods can help. They fill you up and keep you satisfied for longer and they help you burn more body fat and less muscle.


For more information download our GI & Weight Management Fact Sheet

For individual advice on your own diet the services of an Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD) are recommended. In Australia contact  Dietitians Australia to find your nearest APD.

Waist watch

Few parts of our body (think elbows and eyelids) don’t have fat cells. We have billions of them. Where we store them is largely down to our genes. But where we can park the blame for their expansion is generally at the environment door – our sedentary lifestyle (long working hours, commuting, too much TV/computer time) and food choices press all the wrong buttons.

Some of us tend to store the excess fat around the waist and chest (tummy) and others on the hips and thighs. Storing fat around your tummy is more of a health risk than carrying it on your hips and thighs. That’s why an expanding waistline (even if you are in the healthy weight range) can be a warning sign for trouble ahead. So simply running a tape measure around your waist is an easy way to check out potential health risks.

The fat around your tummy is called visceral or intra-abdominal fat (think of it as deeper fat around the abdominal organs). We don’t know yet what links it with chronic disease, but we do know that even small deposits can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes or heart disease.

Subcutaneous fat is the fat that’s just under the skin and is the type that’s found padding out the hips, thighs and buttocks.

Tip: Did you know that you can burn fat and shrink your waistline simply by making smart low GI carb choices.


Be waist wise and measure up

  • Stand in front of a mirror in bare feet (or socks) and measure directly against your skin.
  • Use a flexible tape measure that’s made of a material that’s not easily stretched.
  • Wrap the tape measure around your waist halfway between the top of your hip bone and your lowest rib. On men, this may be roughly in line with the tummy button (umbilicus).
  • Stand up straight and breathe out normally as you pull the tape so that it is firm against your body, but isn’t squeezing into your skin (that’s cheating). Sucking in your breath is cheating too.
  • You may like to measure up a couple of times to double check.

Did you know? Standing on the scales tells you how much you weigh, but not how much of that is fat and how much is muscle. The tape measure gives you a better indication of body fat and whether you have a healthy or a hazardous waist.

Do you have a healthy waist or a harmful waist?

MEN (over 19 years of age)

Healthy waist Hazardous waist Harmful waist
Up to 94 cm

94 to 102 cm

Over 102 cm

WOMEN (over 19 years of age)

Healthy waist Hazardous waist Harmful waist
Up to 80 cm

80 to 88 cm

Over 88 cm

It’s not one size fits all. These waist measurements are for men and women from a European background and for women from Asian and South Asian backgrounds.

Recommended waist measurements for:

  • Men from an Asian or South Asian background and men and women from an Aboriginal background may be a few centimetres lower than this, and
  • Men and women from a Pacific and Torres Strait Islander background may be a few centimetres higher than this.

Tip: Your waistline is an indication of potential health risks. See your doctor for more information.


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