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Alive_April_2016

A WORD ABOUT BMI (BODY MASS INDEX) One of the most common scales used by the medical community in determining whether or not a person is “overweight” or “obese” is by calculating your BMI or Body Mass Index. Essentially, it is a number that represents the ratio of one’s height to weight. In some formulas, a person’s age is also considered in the calculation. According to the broader medical community a BMI from 18.5 to 24.9 is considered normal. A BMI of more than 25 is considered overweight and a person is considered obese if their BMI is above 30. Someone severely obese is anyone with a BMI above 40. The problem with using the BMI as the primary indicator of fitness is, it cannot show whether or not someone’s weight “problem” is due to a higher percentage of body fat, or muscle. In fact, since muscle is denser and weighs more than fat, someone with greater muscle mass and little body fat will often be determined to be obese, when they really are the exact opposite. To illustrate my point, consider a relatively short man that weighs almost 200 pounds—194 to be exact. When we enter that height and weight into the Stanford Healthcare website’s “BMI Calculator,” this is what we are told: BMI: 32.28 Your BMI falls into the obese range. You’re not alone. Over 45 million Americans have a BMI above 30, just like you do. Obesity can lead to serious medical issues like type 2 diabetes and hypertension. You should take steps to lose weight in order to avoid these obesity-related conditions. Call the Stanford BMI Clinic at 650-736-5800 to learn more about our comprehensive bariatric surgery and medical weight loss programs. Aside from height and weight, no consideration has been made in this case of the person’s actual level of fitness. What is this subject’s percentage of body fat? Is this person really not only overweight but well into the range of obese, as the “experts” at Stanford have indicated here? In this case, the subject is Franco Columbo, one of the world’s most accomplished, award winning body builders of all time—someone who even today at age 74, is far from being “obese.” (See photos) So, while BMI can be used as one indicator of fitness for many “average” Americans who lead primarily sedentary lives, a better way to determine whether you are overweight is to measure your actual percentage of body fat. In the mean time, I recommend assessing how you feel and how you look. Just standing in front of the mirror with little or no clothing on will tell you just about all you need to know! A L I V E E A S 20 T B A Y a p r i l 2 0 1 6


Alive_April_2016
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