Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Do You Know Your Body Mass Index?
For some, the need to lose weight is clear. Those whose body weight places them into the obese or morbidly obese categories are well aware that they are carrying too many pounds. But what about the borderline overweight? Is that ten pounds over the ideal weight raising your risk of health complications? Are you just 'big-boned'? How do you decide if you really need to lose weight - and how much you need to lose? Doctors have a number of different ways to measure the need to lose weight. Long gone are the years when they relied on an insurance company chart of 'ideal weights'. The most commonly used measure is the Body Mass Index (BMI). The BMI measures your weight relative to your height. It is generally an accurate representation of muscle-to-fat ratio, though there are some limitations. 1. It may overestimate the BMI of an athletic person, because muscle is denser and weighs more than fat. 2. It may underestimate the BMI of an older person, or others who have low muscle mass. There are many BMI calculators available online that will allow you to check your own BMI. The table for determining risk factors associated with obesity is: Below 18.5 - Underweight 18.5 - 24.9 - Normal 25.0 - 29.9 - Overweight 30.0 and up - Obese If your BMI is above 25.0, your doctor or other medical professional can advise you on the best weight loss plan for you. You should know that there are great benefits to losing even a moderate amount of weight. Some of those include: * Lowering your risk of diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, a weight loss of as little as 10 pounds can decrease the chances of pre-diabetes developing into diabetes by 58%. * Lower your risk of heart disease. The American Heart Association states that coronary problems are directly correlated to weight. By losing weight to bring your BMI to within normal ranges, you significantly lower your risk of developing heart problems. * Reduce your risk of arthritis and pain from arthritis. A number of forms of arthritis are related to weight. Losing weight substantially decreases the strain that additional weight places you your knees, hips, back and ankles. Are you motivated to get started? Here are three ways that you can start losing weight today: Get active. If you do nothing different in your life but exercise for one half hour daily, you will lose 5-7% of your body weight per year. Cut out white breads and sugars. Substitute whole grains for refined flours and sugars, and you'll automatically reduce the number of calories that you consume daily. Eat more fresh vegetables. Fresh vegetables, especially raw, are a significant source of many of the vitamins and minerals that your body needs daily. They're high in nutrition, while low in calories. By increasing the amount of fresh vegetables that you eat and reducing the amount of processed, refined foods, you'll cut calories and carbohydrates significantly.