Jan|Feb 2018

It's time for a New Year's REVOLUTION!

Assessing Your Weight & Health Risk

Assessment of weight and health risk involves using three key measures:    

Body Mass Index (BMI)

Waist circumference

Risk factors for diseases and conditions associated with obesity


Body Mass Index (BMI)

BMI is a useful measure of overweight and obesity.  It is calculated from your height and weight.  BMI is an estimate of body fat and a good gauge of your risk for diseases that can occur with more body fat.  The higher your BMI, the higher your risk for certain diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, gallstones, breathing problems, and certain cancers. Use the table below to estimate your body fat.  The BMI score means the following:  

Underweight = BMI below 18.5

Normal = BMI 18.5 - 24.9

Overweight = 25.0 - 29.9

Obesity = 30.0 and above

Waist Circumference

Measuring waist circumference helps screen for possible health risks that come with overweight and obesity.  If most of your fat is around your waist rather than at your hips, you are at a higher risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  This risk increases with a waist size greater than 35 inches for a woman or greater than 40 inches for a man. 

To correctly measure your waist, stand and place a tape measure around your middle, just above your hipbone.  Measure your waist just after you breathe out.  


Risk Factors for Diseases Associated with Obesity


Along with being overweight or obese, the following conditions will put you at greater risk for heart disease and other conditions:

  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • High LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol)
  • Low HDL cholesterol (“good” cholesterol)
  • High triglycerides
  • High blood glucose (sugar)
  • Family history of premature heart disease
  • Physical inactivity
  • Cigarette smoking

For people who are considered obese (BMI greater than or equal to 30) or those who are overweight (BMI of 25 to 29.9) and have two or more risk factors, it is recommended that you lose weight.  People who are overweight, do not have a high waist measurement, and have fewer than two risk factors may need to prevent further weight gain rather than lose weight.

Talk to your doctor to see whether you are at an increased risk and whether you should lose weight.  Your doctor will evaluate your BMI, waist measurement, and other risk factors for heart disease.