Around half of all New Zealand adults and a third of children are too heavy for good health. It takes a lot of motivation, discipline and hard work to lose weight – but it’s worth it!

Getting started on the active way to health. Setting realistic goals is important. A five–seven percent body weight loss will benefit your health. Being overweight and active is better for your health than being underweight and inactive. Healthy weight is a lifelong commitment to regular physical activity combined with healthy food choices. Talk to your doctor or nurse about an appointment with a dietician. Eating the right types of food will give you the energy to do plenty of physical activity without gaining more weight or feeling hungry.


Being overweight and inactive is a bit like filling the car with petrol then leaving it in the garage. If you don’t drive the car, you don’t use up the fuel. If you are inactive, you are at increased risk of medical conditions like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and some cancers, along with other problems like decreased fertility, joint and back problems, snoring and sleeping difficulties. Physical activity can help with the management of high blood pressure, blood sugar levels and blood cholesterol levels. What’s more, as your muscles become more toned and you lose weight, you’ll feel better about yourself and your clothes will feel more comfortable.


Many large people are worried about what other people will think if they start a new activity. Others worry about what they will look like, and are concerned about what to wear. Some people think they are too heavy to be physically active long enough for it to be worthwhile, especially if they have never been active before. The good news is it can be fun and easy to be active whatever your size. Read on for some great tips on how to get started and how to stick with it.


Being active isn’t just about going for a run or doing a workout at the gym. It is about building activity into your daily routine:

  • Take the stairs instead of the lift
  • Walk to the shops rather than drive
  • Go for a walk at lunchtime with a friend
  • Get off the bus one stop early and walk the remainder of the way
  • Park the car further away from the office and walk
  • Wash your car by hand
  • Use chores around the garden to work up a sweat
  • Play with your children or grandchildren in the park

Involve your whanau, friends and work colleagues in your activity plan. The more support you have, the more likely you are to enjoy it and stick with it. You could also try exercising in water. Because it’s low impact, you can be active without putting your joints and muscles under too much stress. It’s fun, flexible and relaxing!


The aim is to do at least 30 minutes on most days of the week – however, if you’re trying to lose weight, more is better. And the great thing is you don’t have to do it all in one go! You can ‘snack’ on activity by doing 10 minutes at a time. It is important that it stretches you a little and makes you breathe harder and faster. It doesn’t have to be painful, but you should push yourself a bit.

Ministry of Health

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