Healthy, Overweight, or Obese - Which one are you?

November 7, 2013

‚ÄčNovember is Diabetes Awareness Month. It is a great time to reflect on your current lifestyle and habits, and make sure you are doing everything in your power to prevent this disease. Diabetes prevention begins with maintaining a healthy weight, but do you know what your ideal weight is? You may admit that you need to lose a few pounds, but do you know if you are actually clinically overweight or even obese?

Overweight vs. Obese

The Body Mass Index (BMI) is an assessment of weight relative to height[1]. In both men and women overweight is defined as having a BMI over 25.0 and obese is a BMI of over 30. Unfortunately, most people will not take the time to calculate their BMI, instead relying on how they look in the mirror. Our visual assessment tends to be inaccurate, as we frequently underestimate exactly how overweight we actually are, or simply refuse to admit we might be obese.[2]

The list of medical conditions associated with being even a few pounds overweight is growing. Excess belly fat in men has been linked to osteoporosis[3] and a high BMI may be a better indicator of cardiovascular disease risk than high serum cholesterol levels.[4]

Calculating your BMI

Consult at BMI chart to determine your current BMI and identify what is your ideal healthy weight. Remember, your BMI should be less than 25.

For some with athletic and strong body types, the BMI chart may not be accurate. If you think this might represent you, test yourself using a body fat analyzer. A body fat test can determine exactly how much of that extra weight is fat, muscle, and in some cases, even bone. The most accurate results will be obtained at a professional facility, like a doctor’s office or gym, where someone can analyze and explain the results to you. Healthy body fat ranges vary depending on age and gender. Typically, under 20 percent for men and 25 percent for women is considered healthy.

Take Action

Identifying your ideal weight may take a little time, but it’s the first step in taking charge of your health and reducing your risk for insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, diabetes and other diseases. Maximize your chances of success by discussing your goals with your physician so he/she can monitor your progress and provide guidance and support. Remember, achieving a healthy weight is the best thing you can do to for your health.

[1] BMI is calculated by dividing body weight in kilograms by height in meters squared.

[2]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNnPE2nheZ8 Live Well Colorado

[3]Men with Belly Fat at Risk for Osteoporosis. Science Daily

[4] Body mass index may be better predictor of cardiovascular disease than serum cholesterol. Life Extension Update