Thursday, December 28, 2017

Overfat Assessments May Be As Beneficial As BMI Assessments

Obesity is a critical issue in the United States and in other parts of the world. And the most employed measurement for obesity is body mass index or BMI. If a person’s BMI is greater than 30 kg/m², the person may be identified as obese. However, there are times when a person's BMI may be greater than 30, while the person may not have excess body fat or be overfat.

An athlete who is very muscular may have a higher BMI than the average person of the athlete’s height. But the athlete may have no unhealthy fat, while the person with the normal weight and acceptable BMI may have excess, unhealthy fat. Therefore, a new term, called overfat, is coming into usage to describe the unhealthy, excess fat condition. This new term would exclude the healthy muscular individual whose BMI is abnormal, and bring attention to the unhealthy individual whose BMI is within the normal range, but whose body is carrying excess, unhealthy fat.

Indeed, most people in the US and in many industrialized companies are overfat. One study concludes that “up to 90 percent of adult males and 50 percent of children may be overfat.” Further, the report concludes that “80% of the women may fall into [the overfat] category.” Because of this, some experts suggest that instead of using BMI as a measurement of too much fat, we should use measurements that focus on the fat around the waist, because this fat is the most harmful.

The fat around the waist, or belly fat, is associated with type 2 diabetes, heart problems, and other ailments. According to a CNN article, the belly fat is very dangerous because it can make the body insulin resistant, which can lead to type 2 diabetes. And belly fat can cause inflammation which is associated with Alzheimer’s, cancer, and other health problems.

Therefore, methods to assess fat around the waist can be useful. The waist-to-height ratio is an example. If a person’s waist is half or less than half the person’s height the person would be viewed as having a healthy amount of fat on his or her body. But if the person’s waist measurements were more than half his or her height, the person would be viewed as having an unhealthy amount of fat.

The person would be overfat. In fact, waist measurement, alone, is considered to be a pretty good measurement of overfat. If a person’s waist is bigger than the person’s hips, the person likely has unhealthy body fat. And a healthcare provider can make this assessment by simply observing the individual.

So monitoring patients’ BMI is a useful procedure. But monitoring patients’ waist may be at least as useful, because a waist assessment can give a provider insight into unhealthy fat or overfat. And this insight might enable the provider to prevent or lessen the severity of future diseases. Healthcare providers might want to consider waist measurements as an important health indicator.

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