Are You the Right Weight?Most people know pretty perfectly well whether they´re at overweight. Sometimes, even, underweight!
Below are some of the ways of deciding this important matter.
There are many reasons for trying to be and stay at a healthy weight. These include lowering the risk of various serious health problems. High blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, some cancers and osteoarthritis are more likely to arise in the very overweight or obese. Those who are overweight and who already suffer from one of these illnesses will usually improve the situation by losing even a small amount of weight.
A healthy weight also promotes a feeling of self-confidence, a greater ability to relax and deal with stress. It will give you more energy. Better-quality sleep will arrive quicker.
So, there are many reasons for wanting to be at a healthy weight!
Because of the consequences of not doing so, it is best to keep to a healthy weight.
Overweight is an excessive accumulation of body fat and this can severely damage health, either now or in the future. It is a step on the way to obesity, which is a serious condition. It is important to do something about it as soon as possible.
Obesity means being very overweight with a high ratio of body fat. “Apple-shaped” obesity is when a lot of this fat is around the waist. It should be treated, because it is seriously life-threatening.
A spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association said that it is possible to be fit and fat. Certainly better than being unfit and fat, but the overweight, should try to lose weight. It´s best to start this process while simply overweight rather than being obese.
The aim should be to achieve a healthy weight relative to age and gender, a weight at which one looks and feels fit and well.
People can decide whether they are overweight or obese using any one of a number of cheap and cheerful methods.. Each of these methods has drawbacks, but cumulatively they´re likely to produce an accurate picture.
1. Body Mass Index (BMI):
This method, which is usually abbreviated simply to BMI, relates body weight to height. Weight in kilos is divided by the square of height in meters and the result can then be compared with standards that were set by the World Health Organisation. They interpret the results as follows:
- Under 18.50 underweight
- 18.50 – 24.99 normal weight
- 25.00 – 29.99 overweight
- 30.00 and over obese
The BMI has a few drawbacks, but it is the measure most commonly used to assess a person´s weight.
You can check your BMI (and your family´s, while you´re about it), courtesy of the British National Health Service here.
2. BMI for Children
The calculation of BMI for children is different, but you can check a child´s BMI here.
(The BMI is not a perfect tool for deciding whether one is overweight. It does not, for example, differentiate between muscle and fat, so that a fit athlete, at an ideal weight, can have a high BMI and, hence, appear to be overweight or even obese. Also, it´s not a good measure for children, unless the calculation has been adjusted as on the NHI calculator, or for the elderly. In both cases, other factors can distort their results.)
3. Waist Circumference:
Great-grandmother probably used this method and it is still the simplest way to check for extra fat round the middle. (Doctors consider this fat the most potentially dangerous. It has been correlated in studies with various undesirable conditions, including high blood-fat levels, high blood glucose (a pre-diabetes indicator) and high blood pressure.)
There is no definitive standard, but doctors and researchers generally consider that men with a waist circumference of more than 40 inches (102 cms.) and women more than 35 inches (89 cms.) are at greater risk of developing obesity-related diseases. In another study, men with waists larger than 37 inches (94cms.) were found to have a 60% to 70% greater chance of death than those with a smaller waist.
4. Ratio of Waist Circumference to Hip Circumference:
This is another easy way of deciding whether someone may be overweight, though it does require two measurements. It provides a much better indicator than BMI as to how close a person is to a healthy weight. Two circumferences are measured – around the waist and around the hips
Males with a ratio of under 0,9 are considered to have a very low risk of cardiovascular health problems. A ratio of 0,9 to 0,99 implies a moderate risk and a ratio of over 1,00 a high risk. In the case of females, the corresponding figures are under 0,8 for a low risk, 0,8 to 0,89 for moderate risk, and 0,9 and over for high risk.
5. Caliper Test for Skinfold Thickness:
A doctor uses a special caliper to measure the thickness of a “pinch” of skin, though many people achieve the same result at home, without the caliper. A “pinch of skin” is measured in various parts of the body. These are usually the trunk, thighs, front and back of upper arm and under the shoulder blades. The amount of body fat, based on these measurements, is then calculated using equations.
To make a measurement at home, two fingers are pushed into the belly belly until muscle is reached. The two fingers are then pinched together, thus producing a fold of skin between the fingers. If this fold is greater than 1 inch (2.5 cms.), then an unhealthy amount of body fat is being carried.
None of these methods is a fool-proof way of deciding on whether someone is overweight or fat – but they are all good indications of the answer. Most people already have a pretty good idea. Doing these tests, which should not take you more than 5 minutes at home, will suggest the extent of overweight. They will also help set a target, for weight to lose.
Get started on losing weight here.
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