Hello My Friends
Welcome To The Vitality Project!
As a professional health coach concerned with the health and well-being of my clients it is my intention to improve your well-being and longevity by using the principles of nutrition, fitness, diet, lifestyle dynamics, and anti-aging medicine.
Many reports that depict the relationship between chronic disease risk and being overweight or obese use the body mass index (BMI) as the measurement tool. The body mass index is the relationship between your height and weight. The formula to calculate your BMI is: your weight (LBS) over your height (Inches) squared multiplied by 703. If your BMI is from 25-30, you are considered overweight and if it is over 30, you are categorized as being obese.
Well, what about if you have a BMI of 23, does this mean that you are healthy and should not worry about any potential disease risks? Recent evidence has thrown the BMI measurement into question.
According to data gathered from 2003-2006, approximately 30% of American men and 50% of women who were classified as being non-obese from BMI measurements had high levels of body fat and were up to 10 times more likely to develop the metabolic syndrome. The lead author of this study, Dr. M. Peterson remarked, “BMI is potentially missing a lot of people who are at risk,” since they have “normal-weight obesity.”
According to Dr. Peterson, there is a potentially very large group of the population that may be misrepresented by the use of BMI in contrast to measurements that calculate the percentage of body fat and waist circumference. In addition the history of physical activity level and duration verses the degree of time spent being sedentary is much more accurate and meaningful when trying to measure risk.
Now although, this may sound rather confusing to you, it actually makes perfect sense and its importance should not be underestimated. In my opinion, I could not agree more with Dr. Peterson and this is the reason. The disease of obesity causes various metabolic disturbances because of the change in body composition consistent with too much body fat relative to lean tissue. The percentage of body fat relative to lean tissue is the most accurate way to measure your degree of “fatness” and also you level of fitness and disease risk.
Your BMI does not accomplish this task.
The measurement of waist circumference is also extremely important because the magnitude of your waist circumference directly relates to the degree of insulin resistance and the associated cardio-metabolic risk factors you have. In addition, assessing the amount and degree of physical activity in a given individual has a great deal of meaning relative to risk calculations despite the fact that they may have a sedentary job.
Although the BMI measurement is universally utilized to calculate risk, it can be very misleading because it does not take into consideration the nature of your body composition. For instance, if you have a great deal of muscle relative to fat on your body, your BMI may indicate that you are obese. Muscle tissue is much denser than fat and takes-up much less space on your body per unit area than fat making BMI calculations less accurate.
The BMI takes into consideration your weight regardless of whether it is composed of mostly lean tissue or fat relative to your height so you can understand how people can be fatter or leaner and be misrepresented by the BMI calculation.
According to this study which assessed 5576 adults, utilizing the BMI measurement, (BMI>30) it was found that 30.6 % of men and 37.5 % of women were considered obese. It was also found that in the same sample of people that 71% of men and 79 % of women would be classified as obese using body fat percentage calculations! What is more interesting regarding this study was that 33% of males and 45% of females who had a normal BMI of 18.5-24.5 were found to be obese based upon percentage of body fat measurements!
Remember, this study also showed that people who were classified as being obese using percentage of body fat calculations had a 10-fold increased risk of developing the metabolic syndrome! Men should have a body fat percentage below 20 and women below 30.
Measure your waist circumference at least every 3 months!
If it’s increasing…then it’s time to get serious!
Remember….your quality of life is the measurement of successful living regardless of your age.
Dr. Kevin. J. McLaughlin
Clinical Director: The Vitality Project