Body Weight and Health Risk

People come in different sizes and body types. Extreme thinness may be the current fashion but it's not necessarily a measure of health. Like extreme obesity, extreme thinness has its risks. Most peoples' weight falls somewhere between these two extremes and is as much influenced by genetics (what their parents and grandparents look like) as by their own efforts. Permanently modifying weight is a tough task, often made harder by the ways in which the very profitable diet industry encourages people to approach it. If you have concerns about the relationship of your current weight to your health, complete this exercise. Health risk is certainly not the only reason that people choose to lose weight or become fit. But the extent to which your current weight adds to your health risk may help you clarify your goals and find your motivation for change. It's an important part of the whole picture of weight, food and fitness in your life.

Weight by itself is no longer considered to be a good indicator of health risk. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) recommends a three-part assessment of weight and risk:

Body Weight and Health Risk Calculator For Adults
  1. What's Your Body Mass Index?

    Body Mass Index, or BMI, is the ratio of your height to your weight. The BMI relates to total body fat, and applies to both men and women. A BMI between than 18.5 to 24.9 is considered "normal weight." BMIs above that range add to risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. A BMI from 25 to 29.9 is "overweight" and 30 or above "obese." A BMI less than 18.5 indicates "underweight" and may be associated with greater risk for osteoporosis and other conditions, depending on the degree of thinness.

      Imperial   or   Metric
    Your height:   feet inches     meters
    Your weight:   pounds     kilograms
  2. What's Your Waist Measurement?

    Abdominal fat is fat in the belly and midsection, around the organs. Fat in this area increases disease risk more than fat in other parts of the body. This type of fat distribution has been called "apple" or gynoid obesity. Your waist measurement provides an easy estimate of abdominal obesity. Pull a measuring tape taut around your waist. Risk increases with a waist measurement of over 40 inches in men and over 35 inches in women.

        Imperial   or     Metric
    Your waist measurement:   inches     cm
    Your gender:   Male    Female
  3. Risk Factors for Heart Disease

    The following risk factors are associated with a higher risk of developing heart disease. Check all that apply to you:

    Risk Factors
    Check all that apply
    High blood pressure
    Abnormal blood lipids (fats) including any or all of the following: high total cholesterol, high LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, or high triglycerides
    Inactive lifestyle

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Last Updated: Thu Aug 29 21:04:26 2002
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