Do You Need To Lose Weight?
GOOD | Nutrition Made Simple (Download full article here)
7 Simple Questions To Help You Decide
So your favorite jeans have gotten a bit too close-fitting for comfort. Maybe you don't cut quite the figure in your bathing suit that you did a few years ago.
Do you really need to lose weight? Are you putting your health in danger -- or just carrying around a little harmless extra padding?
The standard answer is that you're overweight if your body mass index (BMI) is 25 or higher and obese if your BMI is 30 or higher. There are 7 Questions You Should Ask Yourself
- What is your lifestyle? Regular physical
activity and healthy eating are important, no
matter what your weight or your BMI.
- What is your family history? If a close
relative has a history of high blood
pressure, heart disease, diabetes, or other
weight-related ailment, it's crucial to be
mindful of your weight.
- What is your weight history? People who
have consistently gained weight over the
years need be careful. Experts say your BMI
should not increase dramatically, even as
you age. Even moderate weight gain in
adulthood can increase your risk of
- How is your weight distributed? Weight
gained above the hips -- the so-called
"apple" shape -- can be problematic. In
both men and women, bigger abdomens
can signal trouble.
- How do you feel? Seriously consider
weight loss if you are overweight and have
joint problems, shortness of breath, or
other health troubles that limit your day-today
- What is your health profile? If your
cholesterol and blood pressure levels are high
and your BMI falls into the overweight or
obese category, it's important to lose weight.
If your BMI is between the high end of
healthy and low overweight range, it's a good
idea to talk to your doctor about whether
weight loss is right for you.
- What is your waist size? A waist
circumference of 40+ inches in men and 35+
inches in women signifies a health risk,
particularly in people with BMIs of 25-34.9
(the overweight category). Clothing size isn't
not a good indicator of weight or health; sizes
vary by manufacturers. But your own
clothing, like a favorite pair of pants --is a
good personal gauge of your weight.
The Body Mass Index
To understand the issue of weight and wellness,
you first need to know your BMI, the common
measure of fatness that is at the heart of the
Find out your own BMI with a simple formula:
- Divide your weight in pounds by your height in inches squared.
- Multiply by 705.
For example, consider a woman which is 5'6" and weighs 190 lbs.:
- Height of 5'6" = 66 inches 66
- squared (66 x 66) = 4,356 190
- divided by 4,356 = 0.0436 0.0436 x
- 705 = 30.75
This individual's BMI would be rounded up to 31.
A BMI of:
- 18.5 or less is considered underweight
- 18.5-24.9 is considered ideal weight
- 25-29.9 is considered overweight
- 30 or higher is considered obese
Is BMI the most accurate way to determine
your wellness level?
No...In fact, many doctors and researchers say
the BMI is a great tool to figure out whether
someone is overweight or obese. However, has
This overweight category of 25 to 29.9 is a bit
deceptive because it was never meant as a gauge
for weight loss.
The well-muscled and the big-boned have often
found themselves in the BMI's overweight or
obese categories, a frequent criticism of the
body fat measurement.
Your Waist-to-Hip Ratio
Those who are considered "apple-shaped" (fat
accumulates around the belly) are at a much
higher risk for: Heart Disease, Hypertension,
Diabetes, Elevated Blood Lipids than those who
tend to carry their weight in the hips or thighs.
Obesity Can Also Affect Medical Care Too
much fat can obscure imaging tests, like X-
rays, CT scans, ultrasound, and magnetic
resonance imaging (MRI).
For example, in an ultrasound, the beam may
not be able get through layers of fat to get an
image of a person’s appendix, gallbladder, or
Who Should Lose Weight?
It's possible to be fit and fat -- and that's better
than being unfit and fat. But if you're
overweight, you still need to lose weight.
When you hit the BMI range of 25 to 27 --
overweight and heading into obesity you should
start thinking about losing weight.
Whether someone needs to lose weight must be
determined on a case-by-case basis. That's
because everyone's bodies and health profiles are
Risks of being overweight and inactive
If you are overweight (BMI over 25) and
physically inactive, you may develop:
- Cardiovascular (heart and blood
- Gall bladder disease
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Certain cancers, such as colon and breast
Risks of being underweight
If you are underweight (BMI less than 20), you
may be malnourished and develop:
- Compromised immune function
- Respiratory disease
- Digestive disease
- Increased risk of falls and fractures.
Body fat distribution and health risk
A person’s waist circumference is a better
predictor of health risk than BMI.
Having fat around the abdomen or a ‘pot belly’,
regardless of your body size, means you are
more likely to develop certain obesity-related
Fat predominantly deposited around the hips
and buttocks doesn’t appear to have the
same risk. Men, in particular, often deposit
weight in the waist region.
Studies have shown that the distribution of body
fat is associated with an increased prevalence of
diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and
Generally, the association between health risks
and body fat distribution is as follows:
- Least risk – slim (no pot belly)
- Moderate risk – overweight w/no pot belly
- Moderate to high risk – slim with pot belly
- High risk – overweight with pot belly.
The tendency to deposit fat around the middle is
influenced by a person’s genes. However, you
can take this genetic tendency into account and
do something about it.
Being physically active, avoiding smoking and
eating unsaturated fat instead of saturated fat
have been shown to decrease the risk of
developing abdominal obesity.
Things to remember
- BMI is an approximate measure of your
total body fat.
- Being underweight or overweight can
cause health problems, especially if you
are also inactive.
- Your waist circumference is a better
predictor of health risk than BMI.
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