The more obese a person is, the higher risk he or she has for high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, gallstones, and some forms of cancers. It would be to your advantage to be able to say whether you are approaching the border of being overweight or if you are already obese.
Unfortunately, the mirror doesn’t always tell if you are obese or not, because the eyes could be subjective.
You could go to a medical clinic, where information given will be objective. These health professionals spent years of their education learning about health. Think about the tiring process of how many years it takes to become a registered nurse. After that much education in nursing school, do you think they would steer you wrong with subjectivity?
If you are unwilling to go to a clinic, there are several ways to tell obesity or unhealthy weight with more objectivity by yourself. Measurement of any or combinations of the following are used to make objective interpretations: age, height, weight, bone density, waist circumference, hip circumference, and muscle fat.
Here are different methods which are useful for determining your healthiest proportions:
1. The Body Mass Index (BMI)
This method is most commonly used in determining the ideal body weight because of its relative simplicity. It takes into consideration your weight relative to your height.
It is computed using the formula below.
BMI metric units = weight in kilograms / (height in meters)2
Start making sure that your weight and height are in metric units as stated in the formula. Divide your weight with the square of your height. For instance, if you weigh 80 kilograms and stand 1.8 meters, using the calculator you solve first for the square of 1.8:
1.8 x 1.8 = 3.24 (this is the same as 1.82)
Solving for the BMI in metric units:
80 divided by 3.24 = 24.69
Therefore, the BMI metric units = 24.69
The resulting BMI is interpreted as follows:
- Below 18.5 - underweight
- 18.5 to 25 - ideal
- 25 to 30 - overweight
- Above 30 - obese
Health experts say that the BMI is rather too simplistic a tool to accurately predict unhealthy conditions. Hence, another method can be used with it. It is the WHR which measures the circumference of the waist and the hips, both in inches.
The formula is:
WHR = waistline in inches / Hip circumference in inches
Measure the waistline along the narrowest waist circumference and the hip along the widest circumference. For example, a woman with a waistline of 32 and a hip circumference of 42 will have a WHR of:
WHR = 32/42 = 0.76
The resulting WHR is interpreted in relation to the level of risk for cardiovascular health problems, hypertension, and diabetes, as follows:
- Below 0.8 - low risk
- 0.8 to 0.89 - moderate risk
- 0.9 and above – high risk
- Below 0.9 - low risk
- 0.9 to 0.99 - moderate risk
- 1and above - high risk
Another tool for health screening is the WHtR method which states that the ideal waist circumference is less than half the height of a person. This method reliably predicts risks for heart attack, diabetes, hypertension, and stroke.
This only implies that you keep your waistline trim – at around half of your height. If you are 5’4’’ tall (64 inches), then you have to keep your waistline at less than 32 inches. The waist circumference measures the abdominal fat accumulated and too much of this visceral fat is harmful to the heart, kidneys and the liver. For those working out to control their weight, the WHtR is very simple to remember: Your height divided by 2 should be the maximum circumference of your waist. Use the same units of measurement for the height and waist, meaning, all measurements must be in the same units. If you use inches to measure the waistline, then use inches as well for the height.
4. Body Fat Percentage
Doctors and most high-tech health gyms have devices that measure the body fat, such as dual energy x-ray absorptiometry, bioelectrical impedance analysis, and near-infrared interactance. Experts believe that measuring the body fat is the true measure of a person’s healthy body fat composition. The body fat percentage is computed by dividing the body fat by the total weight. Acceptable body fat percentages are:
- Men: 18% to 25%
- Women: 25% to 31%
There are more sophisticated ways available today, such as the body fat percentage method, for weight-conscious people. The first three basic methods mentioned, however, are the quickest ways to tell if you have a problem with your weight or not. They are available to you at your home right away, with only a body measuring tape or a bathroom weighing scale, and must not be eliminated because of their simplicity.
These methods are a good start for you on your way to good health and better lifestyle.