Wellness Tip for January 2017

I heard on the radio the other day that we gain a pound a week between Halloween andthe end of the year. That is almost 10 pounds. While that may not sound too oppressive,if you add the cumulative effect, it is 50 pounds in five years!

What is your ideal weight? It depends on a range of factors, including age, sex, bodytype, bone density, muscle-fat-ratio, overall general health, and height. There are several ways to determine idealbody weight is the BMI.

One way is to calculate the BMI. You need to know your height and weight. Entering these on any of the onlinetools will calculate the BMI.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), BMI can be classified as follows:
15.9 and under is severely thin
18.5 is underweight
18.5 to 24.9 is normal healthy weight
25 to 29.9 is overweight
30 to 39.9 is obese
40 and above is morbidly obese.

The short comings of the BMI are that it doesn’t take into account a person’s measurements so that an Olympic athlete of the same height and weight as a sedentary individual will have the same BMI. People may have different bone densities affecting their weight which wouldn’t be reflected in BMI. While a BMI is informational it isn’t tremendously useful in predicting obesity or cardiovascular disease risk. It may be more useful and practical to look at waist-hip ratio. WHR is more predictive of cardiovascular disease. The waist is measured at its narrowest point, and if there is no narrow point, it is measured approximately 1 inch above the belly button. Hips are measured at the widest point of the buttocks. The waist measurement is divided by the hip measurement.

For men:
Below 0.9 indicates a very low risk of cardiovascular problems
From 0.9 to 0.99 suggests a moderate risk
Above 1 implies a high risk.

For women:
Below 0.8 means a very low risk of cardiovascular problems
From 0.8 to 0.89 indicates a moderate risk
0.9 or above suggests a high risk of cardiovascular problems.

Women with a WHR below 0.8 have been found to be healthier, with a lower risk of different types of cancer, cardiovascular disorders, diabetes, and infertility.

Men whose WHR is 9 or less have the same benefits as women with a low WHR, and men with a higher WHR, have similar health risks to those of their female counterparts.

The third measurement to consider is the body fat ratio. This is more difficult to measure and can be done with calipers, a machine specific to measuring body fat, or a submersion technique usually done in research projects.

When striving for a healthy body, it is important to factor in body composition and shape, gender and activity levels, and to use accurate tools to evaluate each aspect. To become healthier, people are urged to reduce body fat by eating healthy and exercising, including resistance training to build up lean body composition.

Barb Jacobsen