The energy from our food is used to keep our bodies' systems working efficiently and to allow us to perform our everyday activities. The aim is to match up the energy we get from food & drink with the energy we need for our activities. This is known as Energy Balance.

When we eat the same amount of energy as we use up, our body weight stays the same.

2000 kcal Eaton + 2000 kcal Used Up = Weight Stays The Same

Our bodies are very efficient and will store any extra energy we take in. If the food we eat gives us more energy than we use up, then that extra energy will be stored in our bodies as fat.

3000 kcal Eaton + 2000 kcal Used Up = Weight Gain

However, in times of very hard physical activities, e.g. running a marathon or illness or starvation, the food eaton may not meet our bodies' energy needs. In this case the body will use its reserves of fat to give energy. In severe cases, when all the fat has been used up, the body will start to use muscle (protein), to meet its energy needs.

1000 kcal Eaton + 2000 kcal Used Up = Weight Loss

If you eat 130 kcal (about the same as a packet of crisps) more than you use up each day, then by the end of four weeks you will have stored approximately 3500 kcal which is equal to about 0.5kg (1lb) of fat.

If you continue eating that extra packet of crisps everyday for one year and not using up the energy, that would mean you would gain almost 6kg (1 stone)! So we need to match up what we eat with what we do to stay the same weight.

More than half of the Scottish population are overweight or obese - 52% of woman & 61% of men. Obesity is regarded as a health risk. Diseases associated with obesity are heart disease, diabetes, strokes & some cancers. Being overweight or obese can cause problems with mobility and put excess stress on our joints.