How can a person determine his or her ideal weight?
Ideas about ideal weight vary from generation to generation and culture to culture. Obesity is often looked upon as a mark of distinction in some societies where food is scarce, because it indicates that a person has enough money to eat well. Some Polynesian cultures consider it a sign of beauty to be so well-nourished as to become fat. Other cultures take girls to “fattening houses”, where they become obese before being offered in marriage to the adolescent males. On the other hand, when food is abundant, as it is for most Australians, there is often a distaste for fatness.

Just like your height, your body shape is something that you inherited. We always hear of the media portraying unrealistic body images of both men and women. We are not all born with the same body type, we just need to keep what we have fit and healthy. Severe weight-loss diets can cause the body to lose not just fat, but essential fluids, electrolytes and minerals. The best diets combine a small, steady reduction of calories with a significant increase in exercise. Short periods of exercise do not increase the appetite. For weight management, a person should exercise at least three times a week for 20 minutes each time. Permanent weight loss and weight control result from permanent changes in exercise and eating habits.

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