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At least 1.7 million UK adults are overweight or obese but don’t know it – and millions of others can’t work it out.

So says a shocking survey today from weight loss experts LighterLife to launch BMI 4 Life Fortnight – a campaign to highlight the life-and-death importance of Body Mass Index.

BMI is widely used to establish if someone is a healthy weight for their height. The 18.5 - 24.9 band is seen as healthy, while 25 + is overweight, and 30 is obese, increasing “killer” risks including stroke, heart disease and diabetes.

The nationally representative survey, conducted by BMRB, polled more than 1000 adults, and calculated the BMI of each.

The results showed that a quarter of respondents either didn’t know what BMI meant, or got it wrong.

Alarmingly, half of the total had no idea how it was measured, and three quarters, when asked, didn’t recognise that a BMI of 31 would make them obese.

When asked about their own BMI, the results got more personal….

Only one in three were “confident” they knew their BMI, and 80 per cent of these thought their BMI was “normal”. However, in reality, one in eight who thought they were normal - representing 1.7 million people – were, alarmingly, overweight.

Juliette du Plessis, Programme Director at LighterLife urged everyone to check their BMI – and raise thousands of £s for the Stroke Association charity. She said: “People can check their BMI free, and instantly, at and for every BMI calculation made, LighterLife will donate £1 to the Stroke Association.

Juliette added: “Many just don’t realise the significance of BMI. The research showed that 36 per cent of all respondents thought ‘blood pressure’ was the most important number when it came to health dangers, with ‘BMI’ second at 30 per cent.

“But a high BMI is actually one of the main causes of high blood pressure - and losing weight can eliminate this.”

Laura Dart, Deputy Director for The Stroke Association, said: “A stroke is a brain attack and it can kill you. If a stroke doesn’t kill you, it is likely to leave you severely disabled. Being obese can increase your risk of stroke by up to a third so it is vital we all maintain a healthy body weight and a good diet.

“Body Mass Index is one measure of a healthy body weight. Knowing your BMI along with waist measurements can help to reduce the risk of the UK’s third biggest killer - stroke. Waist measurements are important as the more excess weight around the waist puts you at greater risk of health problems.”

The Stroke Association and LighterLife strongly advise people to seek advice from their doctor before embarking on any diet to reduce weight.


Notes to editors:

To calculate a BMI manually:

- Work out your height in metres and multiply the figure by itself

- Measure your weight in kilograms

- Divide the weight by the height squared (the answer to Q1)

Being overweight or obese increases your likelihood of having high blood pressure and cholesterol which are major risk factors for stroke. But strokes can be prevented. Losing weight and including regular physical activity can reduce your risk. Even moderate physical activity can reduce the risk by 27%.

The Stroke Association is the only UK charity solely concerned with combating stroke in people of all ages. The charity funds research into prevention, treatment, better methods of rehabilitation and helps stroke patients and their families directly through its community services which include communications support, family and carer support, information services, welfare grants, publications and leaflets. The Stroke Association also campaigns, educates and informs to increase knowledge of stroke at all levels of society acting as a voice for everyone affected by stroke.

LighterLife is a weight-loss and weight-management programme for people who are clinically obese, equivalent to three stone or more overweight and with a body mass index greater than 29.

Celebrity’s Body Mass Indexes have been estimated at the following:

Victoria Beckham
Height – 5ft 6
Weight – 6st 8
BMI - 15.3 Underweight

Dawn French
Height – 5ft 2
Weight – 14st 2
BMI – 36.2 Obese

Johnny Vegas
Height – 5ft 7
Weight – 18st
BMI – 39.46 Obese

Jennifer Lopez
Height – 5ft 6
Weight – 8st 6
BMI – 20 Healthy

Beyonce Knowles
Height – 5ft 6
Weight – 9st 9
BMI – 23.1 - Healthy

For further media information contact:

Anna Harris / Alan Murray – Murray PR for LighterLife
0207 544 0016 / 07887 877 077

Andrea Lane / Angela Rowlands - The Stroke Association
0207 566 0328 /

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Murray PR in the following categories: Health, for more information visit