Am I overweight?

There are several ways to evaluate your proper weight. Body Mass Index (BMI) is a number calculated from a person’s weight and height. BMI provides a reliable indicator of body fatness for most people and is used to screen for weight categories that may lead to health problems. BMI can be considered an alternative for direct measures of body fat. For adults 20 years old and older, BMI is interpreted using standard weight status categories that are the same for all ages and for both men and women. Below 18.5 is considered underweight, 18.5 – 24.9 is considered normal, 25.0 – 29.9 is overweight, and 30.0 and above is obese. (Goal BMI is less than 25.)  Calculate your BMI here:   BMI ranges are based on the relationship between body weight and disease and death. Overweight and obese individuals are at increased risk for many diseases including: hypertension, dyslipidemia (for example, high LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, or high levels of triglycerides), type 2 diabetes, coronary artery disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, and some cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon). Of note, highly trained athletes may have a high BMI because of increased muscularity rather than increased body fatness. It is also important to remember that BMI is only one factor related to risk for disease. For assessing your likelihood of developing overweight- or obesity-related diseases, another predictor is your waist circumference (because abdominal fat is a predictor of risk for obesity-related diseases). To determine your waist circumference, locate the upper hip bone and place a measuring tape around the abdomen (ensuring that the tape measure is horizontal). The tape measure should be snug but should not cause compressions on the skin. If you are a woman with a waist circumference of at least 35 inches (88 cm) or a man with a waist circumference of at least 40 inches (102 cm), you are at greater risk, regardless of your BMI. It is not necessary to take this measurement if your BMI is 35 or above. You cannot reduce your waistline through sit-ups or other spot-reducing exercises. You must reduce your intake of fat, saturated fat and total calories to promote weight loss. Eating too much total fat and saturated fat is the biggest contributor to waist circumference. Exercise also plays a key role in losing body fat. Be patient, though, since you tend to lose body fat last in the areas of your body where you store it first!




Author: drjeffgreenberg

Dr Greenberg is a clinical cardiologist who specializes in preventive cardiology, nutrition, exercise, and longevity. He favors using natural methods to improving one's health.

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