Assessing your BMI and waist circumference can save your life
Melissa Kelly, registered dietitian and founder of Scoop to Lose, is our go-to nutrition expert for our 2014 Well Up Challenge, sponsored by Nestle. She shares how to assess your BMI and waist circumference.
Did you know that assessing your BMI and waist circumference can save your life? Body mass index is a measure for human body shape based on an individual’s mass and height. Body mass index is defined as the individual’s body mass divided by the square of their height. E.g. You can calculate your BMI, read it from BMI charts or use your BMI calculator on your Scoop to Lose measuring tape. A BMI of 18.5-25 may indicate optimal weight, a BMI lower than 18.5 suggests the person is underweight, while a number above 25 may indicate the person is overweight; a number above 30 suggests the person is obese. The weight excess or deficiency may, in part, be accounted for by body fat (adipose tissue) although other factors such as muscularity also affect BMI significantly. Weight on its own is the poorest indication of fat loss.
BMI is used differently for children. It is calculated the same way as for adults, but then compared by typical values for other children of the same age. Instead of set thresholds for underweight and overweight, then, the BMI percentile allows comparison with children of the same sex and age.
The BMI ranges are based on the relationship between body weight, and disease and death. This is a very scary fact. Overweight and obese individuals are at risk for many diseases and health conditions including: Hypertension, high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, type-2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke , gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea and some cancers. The extent of abdominal fat is also used in assessing risk of disease. Woman whose waistlines are over 80cm and men whose waists measure over 94cm should watch their weight. A circumference of greater than 88cm in woman and 102cm in men has been associated with an increased risk for heart disease and diabetes. Use your Scoop to lose measuring tape to determine your waistline.
Waist circumference is also the best clinical assessment method to predict a child’s risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes later in life. The Scoop to Lose measuring tape for kids is specially designed to help you compare your waist circumference with those of children within the same age group and gender. As with BMI for children, there is no set threshold for underweight and overweight, it is calculated with percentiles, which only allows comparison with children of the same sex and age.
When you find that these values are too high, make sure to change your eating habits, portion sizes and activity level.
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