Saturday, February 13, 2010

Body Fat Percentage May Be a Significant Problem

As some in the media have reported, obesity may be leveling off in most segments of the U.S. population. Although about a third of the U.S. population is obese, obesity appears to be holding constant. This might mean that some of the efforts to head off obesity are working. But still, there might be an unseen problem -- hidden fat that is not usually measured. And bariatric centers might want to be at the forefront in the effort to tackle the problem.

According to the Mayo Clinic, a person can have a normal BMI (body mass index), but still be obese. The condition is called normal weight obesity. BMI takes only a person's height and weight into consideration, since BMI is computed by dividing a person's weight in kilograms by the person's height in meters, then squaring the result. Therefore, BMI does not measure the percentage of fat on the body.

Although BMI is sometimes controversial, it is probably the most used measurement of body weight. BMI categories have been established to indicate when a person is of normal weight (a BMI between 18 and 25), when a person is overweight (a BMI between 25 and 30), and when a person is obese (a BMI over 30).

Indeed, at most bariatric surgical centers, BMI is one of the key factors used to determine if a person should be considered for bariatric surgery. For example, at many centers, one must have a BMI of 40 or more before bariatric surgery is recommended. With a BMI less than 40, a person might be considered for bariatric surgery if the BMI is greater than 35, and the prospective patient suffers from comorbidities such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

However, the prospect of normal weight obesity may necessitate the inclusion of fat percentage measurements when assessing body weight. And this is where the expertise of bariatric centers could come into play. While there are home methods for calculating body fat percentage, at this time, the most accurate method is probably done in a facility equipped to make accurate body fat percentage measurements.

The relatively new finding by the Mayo Clinic that a person of normal weight could be obese identifies a problem that bariatric centers can equip themselves to handle. Centers should become knowledgeable about the current recommended fat percentages. The centers should also get involved in the ongoing research to nail down more accurate fat percentage classifications. At any rate, strategically inclined bariatric centers should prepare to play an important role in helping potential clients manage body fat percentage, as well as BMI.

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Using the Pedometer and the Mandometer for Lifestyle Modification

Lifestyle modification is a significant element in most weight loss or weight management programs. Lifestyle changes can lead to new habits that enable a person to lose and control weight. The use of two instruments -- one old and one, relatively new -- might be key instruments that can prompt an individual to modify the two most important weight loss and weight management activities. The two instruments are the pedometer and the mandometer. The activities are eating and exercise.

The pedometer is a tool that can be used by an individual to give the individual an accounting of the distance traveled based on the number of steps taken. The pedometer is said to have been around for well over two hundred years. Although older pedometers were mechanical, today's pedometers are usually electronic. The instrument is usually attached to the belt of a walker, jogger, or runner, giving step-count information to the wearer.

Since most people engage in walking, jogging, or running to lose or control weight, the pedometer can encourage a person to add steps to his or her daily activities.

The mandometer is a tool that can help a person change the way he or she eats. The mandometer was developed by two researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. The instrument is a portable electronic scale that is connected to a small computer. The scale weighs the food, in a plate for example, before any food is eaten, and continues to calculate the rate of change in the weight of the food as a person eats from the plate. The rate of change is correlated with eating rate. And the device shows a graph of eating rate, giving off an alarm when the rate is too high, indicating that a person is eating too fast.

This alarm is an attention-getter that encourages the patient, with a too-high eating rate, to lower his or her rate. Lowering the eating rate can be important in weight management and weight control. Changing the way we eat food is an important lifestyle modification. And using the mandometer to monitor eating rates appears to be an effective way to motivate better eating habits.

So the pedometer and the mandometer are possibly two important tools for lifestyle modification for weight loss and weight control. Indeed, these tools might enable a person to increase exercise activity and decrease eating rate.

Therefore, weight loss centers should view these tools as important weapons in the overweight and obesity fight. Along with their existing inhouse services, a center could recommend these tools as methods for weight loss and weight control.

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