Posts Tagged ‘Body mass index’

You may not have a white beard, but if your belly shakes like a bowl full of jelly and looks like Santa Claus, take heed. That’s not a jolly good thing. When it comes to health, shape is as important—even more so—than weight.

Body shape—especially extra stored fat—influences risks for such conditions as diabetes and heart disease. The ratio between hips and waist is three times more effective in predicting heart disease than is Body Mass Index (BMI) or weight alone.

Health professionals often refer to body build as apple-shaped or pear-shaped. Those shaped like apples have belly fat above the waist. Pear-shaped individuals have major portions of fat on the thighs. Overweight apple-shaped people have more health risks than those of the same weight who are built like pears. If you look more like an apple than a pear, you will improve your health if you lose a few pounds and decrease that roll of fat.

New evidence shows that people with more belly fat may have higher risks for kidney disease—even when not overweight. Higher blood pressure in the kidneys causes damage to small blood vessels which in turn hinders blood flow through the glomeruli (tiny filters that rid the blood of waste). Regardless of body weight, this is true in healthy individuals who don’t have high blood pressure or diabetes. Overweight individuals have an even greater risk. The glomerular filtration rate (amount of blood passed through the glomeruli each minute) decreases every year with normal aging. Therefore, as apple-shaped individual’s age, they are even more prone to kidney problems.

Weight loss is more crucial for those with upper body fat. You know your physical shape, but look in the mirror again. If your belly shakes like jelly, you and Santa better watch out. Fat above the waist makes a difference. Be good to yourself and get rid of that belly fat.

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You’ve heard the statistics. More and more Americans march (or eat) toward the realm of overweight and obesity. Countless reasons cause excessive weight—overindulgence, too many fast-foods, gobs of fried, sugar-laden delights, and more. The Body Mass Index (BMI) scale serves as one guide to show us where we rank from underweight to obesity.

Do you believe you weigh too much, or do you think you’re about the right size? A Gallup poll, conducted annually, tracks how Americans classify their weight. In 2011, surveyors calculated the BMI of more than 1,000 people based on self-reported height and weight. Nearly sixty-two percent were either overweight or obese. However, most (sixty percent of men and more than half of the women) thought their weight was about right. For both men and women, actual body weight was about twenty pounds more than the BMI ideal. Additionally, perceived ideal body weight climbed to about ten pounds more than two decades past.

The average woman today weighs twenty-two pounds more than her ideal weight compared to thirteen pounds twenty years ago. In 1991, the average man weighed nine pounds more than his ideal body weight compared to fifteen pounds in 2011. The Gallup poll indicated that Americans are getting more overweight and don’t even recognize it.

Even those of us who register a normal weight on the BMI charts may actually be obese. The threshold of percent body weight for obesity is twenty-five for men and thirty for women. Records for BMI and body fat scores of more than 1,300 people found that nearly two-fifths had appropriate weight based on the BMI scale but were obese according to fat scores. The discrepancy may have resulted from the aging process, especially in women, and greater loss of muscle tissue due to lack of exercise.

Are you sure about your ideal weight? How does thinking and actual weight compare with twenty years ago? Perceptions tend to cloud reality as added flesh becomes more acceptable. And now, we can’t even rely on our scales. That should joggle our brains. The best indicator of healthy weight probably is body fat—and few know that percentage. Two things we do know and don’t want to confess. We may not be as small as we like to think.  And we’re reluctant to exercise to help keep those extra calories from turning into blubber.



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If you’re interested in a hot topic, just mention weight. Through the years, different guides have indicated a healthy weight. Since 1998, health professionals have used the Body Mass Index (BMI) as the standard. The BMI identifies normal, overweight, obese, and extreme obesity.

Weight May Number Your Days

The number of pounds you lug around on your body may help determine how long you will live. Overweight and obesity escalate probabilities for many chronic illnesses and worsen others. As the BMI increases, mortality risks for all ages rise. A BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 constitutes a healthy weight. Men with a BMI of 23.5 to 24.9 and women with a BMI of 22.0 to 23.4 show the lowest mortality risks.  

What is your healthy weight? For complete information about BMI and to find the chart to evaluate yourself, go to http://www.win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/PDFs/Weightandwaist.pdf    To find your weight-related risk status, start with an accurate scale to assess current weight. Next, decide your correct height. Now go to the BMI chart at the website above and, if possible, make a copy. In the far left-hand column of the BMI chart find your height and follow with your finger across the chart until you reach your current weight. Move your finger up that column and locate the BMI directly above. Indicate that juncture with an X or make a note of the number if you did not make a copy. If that number is 25 or beyond, mark the weight that would lower your BMI score to 24. Make a note of the weight difference between where you are and where you should be for a healthy weight.

For example, if you are 5’4” and weigh 157 pounds, your BMI is 27. To have a score of 24, you must reduce weight to 140 pounds. That means losing seventeen pounds to have a healthy weight.

Congratulations. You have a starting point. You know where you are physically and where you need to go to lower weight-related risk factors. Now, get ready to lose that extra weight to become a healthier you and maybe live longer.

A graph of body mass index is shown above. The...

Image via Wikipedia


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