On this page: 
Am I overweight?
What weight should I be?
How can I lose weight?
Find out more

Being overweight increases your risk of having a stroke. So it’s very important to try to maintain a healthy weight.

Am I overweight?

Being overweight raises your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. It can lead to your arteries becoming narrowed and clogged up (atherosclerosis). All these things can increase your risk of a stroke. 

It’s not just how much weight you carry, but how you carry it as well. If you carry extra weight around your waist, you are more likely to have high blood pressure, diabetes or other health problems. So it’s even more important to make sure you’re a healthy weight. 

What weight should I be?

Calculating your body mass index (BMI) can be a good way to check if you're a healthy weight. It takes into account that people come in different shapes and sizes, by comparing your weight against your height. 

For many people, a healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 25. A BMI of over 25 is classified as overweight, and over 30 is called obesity. There are slightly different BMI targets for people who are black or from South Asian families, whereas a BMI of 23 is considered overweight. This is because the risk of diabetes and stroke begins to rise at a lower BMI than for white people.

NHS Choices has a BMI calculator that can help you work out your BMI.

Contact your doctor or pharmacist for individual advice about your weight, and support for losing weight if you need to. 

How can I lose weight?

The key is to make small, long-lasting changes to your lifestyle. Changing your eating habits so that you start to eat more healthily and become more active are the best ways to lose weight.

Your GP or practice nurse can give you advice on lifestyle changes and tell you about weight loss groups or discuss other treatments.

Here are our tips to help you lose weight:

  • Try to do some form of exercise every day. This can help you burn off calories or maintain a healthy weight.
  • Watch how much alcohol you drink and try to keep within the recommended amounts.
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet. 

Find out more

NHS Better Health has a free app to help you get started with weight loss, including tips on healthy eating and being active. You can also access the Healthier Your diabetes prevention programme and find more online tools and support.

You’ll also find more information and tips in our leaflets Healthy eating and stroke and Getting active after a stroke.

paragraph break

The Stroke Association would like to thank LoSalt for sponsoring this page. The Stroke Association retains independent editorial control over all content. To find out more about LoSalt and how we’ve joined forces to build a #HealthierUK, visit our partnership page.

If you take some types of medication that affect potassium levels, LoSalt and other reduced sodium salt alternatives may not be suitable for you. Check with your GP for advice.

LoSalt logo