Healthy Body Weight

By: Rex Ng

According to a survey conducted by Harvard School of Public Health, 3/4 of the participants in US rated Obesity as a serious public health issue. The high frequency of diet related ads shown on TV, publication, and internet served to validate this alarming health trend. But according to another survey conducted within 1 year, less than 10% of the respondents admitted they are overweight. Which the lead to the question, how to define healthy body weight?

It is difficult to come up with a one size fit all definition that applies to everyone due to genetics factors and personal habit. For instance, muscle has a higher density factor than fat, thus athletes tend to weight more. But there are some measurable indexes we can leverage as reference point to body weight. One of them is the amount of weight gained since mid-twenties. For majority of people, metabolism started to slow down during mid to late twenties, which implies we might be absorbing more calories than we are used to. Studies have indicated the amount of weight put on since mid-twenties have proportional effect on the chances of developing heart attack, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, gallstones, snoring, and sleeping disorder.

Another metric often use by the medical community to gauge healthy weight is BMI (Body Mass Index). Since tall people tend to weight more due to mass associated with longer bones and surrounding tissue. This ratio factor an individual's height into the equation. The equation is defined as follows: weight / (height * height) * 703. The unit of weight is lbs, which the unit of height is inches. If I applied this equation using my weight (170lbs) and height (5'10" = 70 inches), will yield a BMI of 24.39 (170/(70*70)*703. This site http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/bmi/index.htm provides a simple to use BMI calculator. Below is a breakdown of the obesity level base on the BMI score.

Recommended BMI Chart

Underweight BMI less than 18.5

Ideal BMI 18.5-25

Overweight BMI 25-30

Obese - should lose weight BMI 30-40

Very obese - lose weight now BMI greater than 40

Finally, one last index to gauge healthy body weight is to measure the amount of fat tissue around the waist. Research has indicated that abdominal fat is more of a health hazard then fat accumulated in other area of the body. This type of fat has directed relation with the development of cardiovascular problem.

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