Throughout the course of their lives, women are vulnerable to several weight related health risks associated with being overweight, losing weight, and being underweight by choice.

Healthy body weight refers to a body size that falls within a BMI range of 20 to 25. BMI values below and above this range are associated with increased health risks. Increasingly, WHR is used in conjunction with BMI to assess weight related health risk.

The WHR is a better indicator of abdominal or truncal adiposity, a measurement more closely linked to a greater risk of  diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers. A WHR greater than 0.85 puts women at higher risk of  weightrelated health problems.

Between one quarter to one third of North American adult women are overweight. In certain native and ethnic  populations, this figure may be substantially higher. Evidence indicates that there is a weight-gaining trend among adults, despite a preoccupation with body weight and despite the massive effort and billions of dollars spent in Canada and the United States trying to control weight.