Know Your Numbers

Get to grips with your health numbers here.

The food we eat, drink we enjoy and activity we take part in all influence our overall health and a healthy diet and lifestyle that’s balanced and varied are the first steps to improving your health. Knowing your numbers is the next step.
Taking part in a quick and simple health check, from your doctor or health professional, can help to provide an insight into your health status and risks of developing diet related conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease or stroke.
Through a few simple tests, a typical health check can provide a range of measures which are associated with these health conditions. Here are some of the most common ones below.

Health measures, such as these one, are a simple measure to indicate health status and risks and rely on provision of accurate information and measurements, they do not replace doctor or health care professional given advice. Please note these figures are only suitable for adults 18 years and older. If you have any concerns about your health please consult with your doctor or health professional.


Body Mass Index (BMI) is a simple tool to understand if you are a healthy weight for your height. A healthy BMI score is between 18.5-25. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of developing longer term health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers. The best way to reach a healthy weight is by choosing a healthy balanced diet combined with regular activity.

<18.5 = underweight

18.5 - 25 = healthy weight

25 - 30 = overweight

>30 = obese

Find out your BMI here.

Waist Circumference

Carrying too much weight around your stomach has the biggest impact on your health as this weight, known as abdominal fat, interacts with your bodies normal functioning and can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease or stroke.
Healthy Waist Circumference:

<94.0cm (37.0ins) or less for men

<80.0cm (31.5ins) or less for women

Find out your Waist Circumference here.

Blood Cholesterol

We all need cholesterol to help our bodies function normally, however too much is unhealthy and increases the risk of heart disease and strokes. There are various elements of cholesterol that can be measured, recommended healthy levels for the two most common ones are below.

Total Cholesterol: <5 mmol/L

HDL Cholesterol: >1mmol/L men and >1.2 mmol/L women

LDL Cholesterol: <3 mmol/



Blood Pressure

When your blood pressure is measured, it is shown as two numbers. The first is systolic pressure, the second is diastolic pressure, e.g. 120/80. The below blood pressure ranges are provided in the same format. Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure.

Normal blood pressure: ≤120 and ≤80

Pre-hypertension: between 121 -139 and between 81-89

Hypertension stage 1: Between 140-159 and between 90-99

Hypertension stage 2: ≥160 and ≥100

What can I do to improve my health?

Some risks factors are not in our control (such as age, gender, ethnicity, family history) but there are many that are. Enjoying a healthy diet, being regularly active, not smoking and being a healthy weight can all help to improve our health risks.


  • World Health Organisation (2011). Waist Circumference and Waist-Hip Ratio: Report of a WHO Expert Consultation 2008. Published by WHO Document Production Services, Geneva, Switzerland.
  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) (2014) Cardiovascular Disease: Risk Assessment and Reduction, Including Lipid Modification. Available from: ww.nice.org.uk/guidance
  • The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (2004) The Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure. National High Blood Pressure Education Program. United States. 
  • World Health Organisation (2010) WHO The 3 Fives Healthy Choices Healthy Life. Available from www.who.int/foodsafety