Healthy weight important in mental health, too

The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) has created a library of health topics viewed through the lens of both behavioral health and primary health. This quarter, the focus is on mental health and healthy weight. People with mental illness often leave weight unchecked, because their attention is focused on caring for other illnesses. Uncontrolled weight gain can lead to obesity, which often leads to various chronic illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes. Uncontrolled weight gain or loss is preventable and manageable often with small lifestyle changes.

It is important to include weight issues in your discussions with your doctors. Be prepared with your own set of questions when you visit your medical providers, such as:

• Do I need to lose weight?

• How much should I weigh?

• Are any of my health conditions related to my weight?

• Can any of my conditions be improved with weight loss?

• Am I at risk of developing other conditions because of my weight?

• Do any of the medications I currently take contribute to weight gain?

Tell your medical providers/doctors about your eating habits, diet, physical activity and any other relevant information. You shouldn't be offended or worried, as sharing this information will help your medical providers/doctors assess your nutritional history and needs.

The Mental Health and Healthy Weight fact sheet, which can be found at, details how to calculate your BMI (Body Mass Index). This measurement incorporates height and weight, providing a tool to assess whether your current weight is healthy.