Being A Healthy Weight

Being a healthy weight is important to prevent liver disease and, if you already have disease, to prevent it getting worse.

If you have fatty liver disease, one of the best things you can do is lose weight. Losing 5 to 10% of your body weight can control and sometimes even reverse fatty liver disease.

Some people with liver disease are underweight. People are more at risk of losing weight if they have cirrhosis or if they feel sick and can’t eat properly. Being underweight is also not good for your health. Talk to your health professional to get support if needed.

If you lose more than 10% of your weight … fibrosis can reverse

If you lose more than 7% of your weight … NASH can get better (non-alcoholic steatohepatitis – the more advanced stage of fatty liver disease)

If you lose more than 5% of your weight … there will be improvements in inflammation

If you lose more than 3% of your weight … the fat in your liver cells will be reduced

What is my healthy weight?

There are 2 ways to work out whether you’re a healthy weight: working out your Body Mass Index (BMI) and taking your waist measurement.


Working out your BMI can give you an idea of whether you’re a healthy weight for your height. It’s worked out by dividing your weight by your height squared. It’s only for adults.

Weight (kg)


Height (m)2

The easiest way is to use a calculator, like this one


Here is what the results mean:

  • Under 18.5: underweight
  • 18.5 – 24.9: healthy weight range
  • 25.0 – 29.9: overweight
  • 30.0 and above: obese

Waist circumference

BMI can’t tell you everything. It doesn’t tell how much fat you have compared to muscle, and it isn’t accurate for people of all ethnic backgrounds.

Another way to measure your risk is to take your waist measurement. This gives an idea of how much fat you’re carrying around the middle.

Measure around your waist (halfway between your lowest rib and the hip bone). Here is what the results mean:


88 cm or more for Caucasian women, 80 cm or more for Asian women – you are at greatly increased risk of disease


102 cm or more for Caucasian men, 90 cm or more for Asian men – you are at greatly increased risk of disease

Know your energy needs

Water and fruitGoing on a very strict diet often won’t help you lose weight long-term.

To lose weight effectively and sustainably, it’s important to understand your individual energy needs and how you can meet those needs through whole foods.

This doesn’t have to mean calorie counting or weighing and measuring yourself all the time. Having a clear idea of how much food your body needs can help you make informed choices.

Getting advice from an accredited practising dietitian is a great place to start if you’re looking to make long-term sustainable changes to your diet to maximise your liver health.

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