AIHW Board AIHW senior staff Annual report Capability statement Collaboration Customer care charter FOI - freedom of information Indexed list of files Conferences & events Organisation chart Presentations Privacy of data Public consultation Strategic Directions 2011-2014 Tenders
By category Ageing, disability & carers Families & children Hospitals Housing & homelessness Indigenous Australians Population groups Risk factors, diseases & death Services, workforce & spending
By subjectAdoptions Aged care Ageing Alcohol & other drugs Arthritis & musculoskeletal conditions Asthma Australia's health Australia's welfare Burden of disease Cancer Cardiovascular health Child health, development & wellbeing Child protection Children's services Chronic diseases
Chronic kidney disease Chronic respiratory conditions Deaths Dementia Dental & oral health Diabetes Disability Expenditure Eye health Food & nutrition Health indicators Homelessness Hospitals Housing assistance Indigenous Australians Injury Life expectancy
Male health Mental health Mothers & babies National health priority areas Overweight & obesity Palliative care Population health Prisoner health Risk factors Rural health Safety & quality of health care Veterans' health Workforce Youth health & wellbeing Youth justice
In other sections Data Publications Contact AIHW
Publications CatalogueOrdering publicationsForthcoming publicationsOnline reportsRate our publication effectivenessSubscribe to release notices
By subject Adoptions Aged care Ageing Alcohol & other drugs Arthritis & musculoskeletal conditions Asthma Australia's health Australia's welfare Burden of disease Cancer Cardiovascular health Child health, development & wellbeing Child protection Children's services Chronic diseases Chronic kidney disease
Chronic respiratory conditions Corporate publications Data linkage Data standards Deaths Dental & oral health Diabetes Disability Expenditure Eye health Food & nutrition General practice Health indicators Health priority areas Homelessness Hospitals Housing assistance Indigenous Australians Indigenous housing
Injury Life expectancy Male health Mental health Mothers & babies Overweight & obesity Palliative care Population health Prisoner health Risk factors Rural health Safety & quality of health care Veterans' health Workforce Youth health & wellbeing Youth justice
In other sections Subjects Data Contact AIHW
About AIHW data METeOR - metadata online registry Data by subject Catalogue of holdings of AIHW data Data integration Data standards Privacy of data
By subject Aged care Alcohol and other drugs Alcohol data sources Body weight data sources Cancer Children's headline indicators
Chronic disease indicators Deaths Disability Expenditure FHBH - Fixing houses for better health General practice (GP) data Hospitals Height and weight data sources
Indigenous Australians International collaboration Medical indemnity Mental health National indicator catalogue National core maternity indicators Risk factors statistics Tobacco data sources Workforce
In other sections Subjects Publications Contact AIHW
AACR ACFADD AHSAC AIHW Board AIHW Ethics Committee CKDMAC AODTS NMDS WG CMAG CSDWG CVDMAC HEAC HHIMG
IGIHM JJ RIG MHISS MyHospitals NAGATSIHID NCIAG NCSIMG NDDWG NDIMG NHISSC NIAG NIRAPIMG NMDD
NMDS NOPSAD NPDDC NPHEP NPHIC PCDWG PDWG PHIDG PHIG REDWG Workforce committees YIAG
Education worksheets What's in the pipeline Subscribe to education notices Other educational links
Worksheets by subject All Latest Ageing Australia's health Australia's welfare Carers
Children & youth Disability Disease Drugs
Health Health prevention Indigenous Australians Injury
In other sections Subjects Data Publications Contact AIHW
Job vacancies How to apply for a position at the AIHW Conditions of employment Benefits of working for the AIHW Indigenous temporary employment register Temporary employment register Occupational Training Program Contact the People Unit Subscribe to employment notices Graduates
AIHW Access magazine Conferences & events Media releases Subscribe to release notices Media FAQ Media contacts
You are here:
While many factors may influence an individual's weight, overweight and obesity are due mainly to an imbalance of energy intake from the diet and energy expenditure (through physical activities and bodily functions). Genetic and environmental factors play a role, but attention to diet and physical activity is important not only for preventing weight gain, but also for weight loss and subsequent maintenance.
The total amount of food that your body needs depends on your age, sex, body size, level of physical activity and whether you are pregnant or breastfeeding. The body converts the protein, fat and carbohydrate in food to energy. Fat is the most concentrated source of energy.
Energy intake from food varies greatly between individuals, for example, the average intake for children ranges from about 6,000 kilojoules for children aged 2-3 to about 10,000 kilojoules for adolescents aged 14-16. The average energy intake for adults was about 10,000 kilojoules for men and about 7,000 kilojoules for women aged 18 and over.
Energy needs increase during periods of growth, during pregnancy and breastfeeding and with increasing physical activity.
The human body expends energy in three ways:
Physical activity is the most variable component of energy expenditure, and the only component a person has any direct control over. For a normally active person, physical activity contributes about 20% to daily energy expenditure.
Healthy eating and physical activity are important for a healthy active life. Maintaining your weight means balancing the energy going into your body (as food and drink) and the energy being used for growth and repair, for physical activity, and to keep your bodily functions working. An excess energy intake, even a small amount over a long period, will cause weight gain. Children and adolescents need enough nutritious food to grow and develop normally. Older people need to keep physically active and eat nutritious foods to help maintain muscle strength and a healthy weight.
The Australian guide to healthy eating provides practical advice on the types and amounts of foods different groups should eat every day. Following these recommendations and limiting the number of energy-dense, nutrient-poor discretionary foods and drinks is the best way to maintain a healthy weight. Being physically active and eating healthily throughout life helps to promote health and wellbeing and prevent chronic disease.
The Healthy Weight website