Healthwise for Guys: Overweight and Obesity

(FN1874, Jan. 2023)
Lead Author
Lead Author:
Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D., Food and Nutrition Specialist
Other Authors

Bailey Benson, Dietetic Intern

Web only
Publication Sections

Quick Quiz

  1. True or False: A BMI (body mass index) of 22.7 is considered “overweight.”
  2. Which of the following is not one of the ways to lose weight?
    a. Getting a healthy amount of sleep
    b. Getting at least 300 minutes of physical activity per week
    c. Skipping meals to avoid consuming excessive calories
  3. A high BMI is an indicator for which of the following diseases?
    a. Heart attack
    b. Diabetes
    c. Kidney cancer
    d. All of the above

Answers: 1. False; 2. c; 3. d

How is overweight/obese defined?

Overweight/obesity refers to a weight for a given height that is higher than recommended for health. Body mass index (BMI) is a tool to measure healthy weight vs. unhealthy weight. A high BMI can mean that body fat is too high. See www.choosemyplate.gov for an online BMI calculator.




Less than 18.5

Normal weight

18.5 – 24.9


25 – 29.9


30 or higher

A high BMI is linked to greater risk for cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, osteoarthritis and certain cancers, including ovarian, gallbladder, prostate, liver, kidney and colon.

How common is overweight/obesity?

About 74% of U.S. adults are overweight according to the 2017-20 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data. Nearly 42% of U.S. adults are obese. Men aged 40 to 59 were more likely to be obese than men aged 60 or older. An adult with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or more is considered obese, while an adult with a BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight. To determine your BMI, see the BMI calculator at cdc.gov.

Source: www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/obesity-overweight.htm

How can I lower my risk?

Adopting a healthful lifestyle can reduce your risk for becoming overweight. Eat a healthful diet, be physically active regularly and get enough sleep to lower your risk of gaining weight. To lose weight, aim to spend more energy (calories) than you consume.

Tips to Reduce the Risk of Becoming Overweight/Obese

  • Keep a food diary to see what you are eating and when you eat. You can rate your level of hunger during eating and snacking in your journal, too.
  • Eat a balanced breakfast that includes at least three of the five food groups.
  • Keep high-fiber, low-sugar snacks, such as fresh vegetables and fruits, on hand.
  • Consider your drink choices. Drink water instead of sweetened beverages when you are thirsty.
  • Get enough sleep. Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep per night.
  • Serve yourself smaller serving sizes or take home part of restaurant meals.
  • Avoid eating in front of the TV.
  • To lose weight, experts recommend 300 minutes of moderate activity per week (60 minutes on five or more days of the week). Walking at a pace of 4 miles per hour can help promote weight loss.
  • Set a goal and track your progress. See www.choosemyplate.gov for a “Super Tracker” to track food and fitness, and tips such as these:
    • Vary your veggies. Aim for at least 3 cups of vegetables daily.
    • Focus on whole fruits instead of fruit juices. Aim for at least 2 cups of fruit, especially whole fruit, daily.
    • Make half of your grain choices whole grains. Try whole-wheat bread and pasta, oatmeal and brown rice.
    • Move to low-fat or fat-free dairy.
    • Vary your protein routine. Choose lean proteins of all types.
  • See www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management for more weight management tips.


Key to abbreviations:

  • c. = cup
  • Tbsp. = tablespoon
  • tsp. = teaspoon
  • lb. = pound
  • pkg. = package
  • g = gram
  • mg = milligram

Baked Chicken Parmesan

Baked Chicken Parmesan
Baked Chicken Parmesan

½ c. unseasoned whole-grain breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
½ tsp. granulated garlic
½ tsp. pepper
1 lb. chicken breasts
¾ c. marinara sauce
¾ c. mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375 F. In a bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, granulated garlic and pepper. Spray sheet pan with nonstick spray. Dredge each chicken cutlet in the breadcrumb mixture and place on the sheet pan. Discard the rest of the breadcrumb mixture. Bake the chicken for 30 minutes, turning over when half way though. Remove the pan from the oven and spread marinara sauce and sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese over each chicken breast. Place back in the oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes.

Makes four servings. Each serving has 280 calories, 8 g fat, 36 g protein, 15 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber and 550 mg sodium.

One-pan Chicken Fajitas

One-pan Chicken Fajitas
One-pan Chicken Fajitas

1½ lb. chicken breasts cut into ½-inch strips
2 red bell peppers, sliced into strips
1 green bell pepper, sliced into strips
1 onion, sliced
3 Tbsp. olive or canola oil
1 packet taco seasoning, reduced sodium
1 lime
12 whole-wheat tortillas
Optional toppings: shredded cheese, salsa, sour cream, avocado slices

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Sprinkle taco seasoning and drizzle olive oil into bowl with chicken, bell peppers and onion. Toss to coat. Spread contents on greased pan sheet; bake 20 to 25 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked. Squeeze lime juice over pan and serve with whole-wheat tortillas.

Makes 10 servings (one fajita per serving). Without added toppings, each fajita has 280 calories, 9 g fat, 20 g protein, 27 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber and 380 mg sodium.

Cinnamon Banana Pancakes

Banana Pancakes
Banana Pancakes

2 large bananas, ripe to overripe
2 eggs
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
½ c. skim milk or almond milk
1 c. whole-wheat flour
Maple syrup or fruit to serve

In a bowl, add bananas. Lightly mash with a potato masher or a fork, but not too much. Leave small chunks of bananas to make fluffy pancakes Add all remaining ingredients to banana mixture, mixing well. In a frying pan, cook pancakes over a medium-low heat. Use ½ cup of batter for each pancake and flip once edges get bubbly.

Makes four servings. Each serving has 190 calories, 3 g fat, 9 g protein, 35 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber and 50 mg sodium.