You step on the scales and it tells you what you already know – you’re at about the right weight, you’re overweight or you are really overweight, maybe even obese. But, the numbers on the scale don’t tell the whole story. The Mayo Clinic recommends that you follow the advice of the National Institute of Health and base determining if you have a healthy weight on these three factors.
You may know your weight is unhealthy or you may think you’re at a healthy weight. The National Institute of Health is saying that the scale won’t tell you the whole story and that you should take these 3 tings into consideration.
1. Body Mass Index (BMI): If you’ve wondered exactly what it is, it is a tool that take both height and weight into consideration to estimate body fat. It’s not always accurate. For example, a tone athlete may have a high BMI because muscle weights more than fat. However, for most people this is a good way to estimate your weight-related health. A healthy BMI is 19 to 24, with overweight tallying 25 to 29 and obese at 30 to 50. You’ll find charts for BMI on the internet or the formula for figuring it out yourself which involves converting pounds to kilogram and your height to centimeters. As an example, a person who is 5’7” has a healthy BMI if they weight between 121 and 153 pounds. A person who is 6’ tall has a healthy BMI between 140 and 177 pounds. A BMI of under 18.5 is low weight and another cause of concern that should be discussed with a doctor.
2. Waist Circumference: Where your body stores fat is important. Your shape is a clue. “Apples” carry weight around the middle while pears who carry weight in their hips, thighs and lower body. Belly fat – fat around the waist and upper abdomen or that apple shape is thought to make a person more susceptible to weight related disease. To measure, find the highest point on each hipbone and measure your body just above these points using a flexible tape measure. A “healthy” measurement is 35” or less for a woman and 40” or less for a man.
3. Medical History: You need to look at both your personal medical history and the medical histories of your family. If you have a family history of obesity or weight-related disease you are at a higher risk. Ditto, if you are a smoker or have a sedentary lifestyle. Weight-related diseases can include type II diabetes, heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, gallbladder disease and gallstone, osteoarthritis, gout and even some cancers. Breathing problems such as sleep apnea are also associated with being overweight.
You probably know if you need to lose weight, but considering these three factors together may be a real wakeup call. If you’ve tried to lose and failed, you might consider the help of a medical weight loss center. They’ll customize a diet for you, monitor your success, encourage you and help you reach your goal and stay there. It may be the help you need to finally reach a healthy weight.