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How to keep fit and healthy

Your BMI (body mass index) is a measure of relative weight based on an individual’s height and mass and is commonly used as an indicator of your overall health and fitness.

According to our National Health Report 2015, more than 4 in 10 people in the UK have a BMI which falls within the healthy range of 18.5 to 24.9 (42%). People with a BMI in this range are most likely to be found in Northern Ireland (47%) and Wales (45%). A further 38% of those in the UK have a BMI of 25-30.9, which classes them as overweight. People with a BMI in this range are most likely to live in the North East (46%).

A BMI measurement of 31-35, which classes a person as obese, is most likely to be found in Yorkshire (14%). Those with a BMI of over 35, which is classed as morbidly obese, are most likely to be found in Wales (9%) and the South East (7%). When asked what they thought their BMI was, nearly 1 in 3 (29%) underestimated what range they were in, illustrating a lack of understanding and knowledge of BMI.

Do we exercise enough?

Physical Activity MapAccording to established national health guidelines, we should be undertaking cardiovascular exercise for a minimum of 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) per week. People from the South East are most likely to follow this advice, with 8% exercising for between 2 and 2.5 hours. Those from Yorkshire are most inclined to exceed this minimum requirement, with 15% exercising for more than 3.5 hours per week, along with 13% of people from Scotland.

At the other end of the spectrum, 35% of people from Wales and 32% of people from the South West and the North East admit to exercising for less than 15 minutes per week.

Although we should undertake muscle-strengthening activities at least 2 days a week, barely 1 in 10 people in the UK (11%) actually manage to do so. Those who live in Northern Ireland and Scotland (16% for both regions) are most likely to meet these guidelines.

More than 6 in 10 people from the South West (62%) say that they don’t do any muscle-strengthening activities at all.


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