Relying on Body Mass Index (BMI) readings to gauge whether a person is overweight or obese, is no longer credible. Even the world’s most qualified experts truly understand obesity. Obesity is an issue linked to millions of variables that are not only complex but also changes through every facet of a person’s life.
Usually, BMI readings are taken by taking your weight in kilograms and dividing by your height in meters squared. A reading at or over 30 means you are obese. A reading of at or over 40 indicates severe obesity. However, BMI does not take into account the muscle you might be carrying in your body, leading to false readings. By BMI standards, many athletes and other sports people would be labeled obese, though they are healthy and fit.
Another inaccurate interpretation of health comes from the use of the phrase Metabolically healthy obesity (MHO) to refer to someone who is overweight or obese but have no indications of health issues. People said to be MHO believe they are healthy despite the weight they carry around.
But MHO is not a reliable indicator of future health. In fact, nearly half of the people in a study who had MHO developed metabolic syndrome such as increased blood glucose, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol levels across a median of about 12 years. Metabolic syndrome puts you at an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and other health complications.
Experts have been looking for a more reliable and recognizable way to understand how a person’s weight status relates to their health. The following five methods may be easier to use and understand than BMI
Waist measurement: The best and probably easiest way to tell if you are at a healthy weight is from your waist size. A waist circumference greater than 89cm (35 inches) in women and greater than 101cm (40 inches) in men could not only determine overweight status but put a hard-and-fast number on one’s health.
Waist circumference above these numbers indicates excessive belly fat, a dangerous type of fat surrounding vital organs, which increases one’s risk of diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and the metabolic syndrome.”
The advantage of this measurement is that it is quick to perform and is a rather reliable predictor of risk for type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. To measure your waist circumference, all you need is a measuring tape.
Place the tape on top of your hip bone, bring it around your body and level with your belly button and take the reading. Resist the temptation to suck in and do not make the tape too snug. An inaccurate reading only hurts you.
Snoring: If your partner, best friend, or even you notice excessive snoring and you wake up restless, it may be a good reason to check your weight. If you snore frequently and rarely get a good night’s sleep, you may suffer from sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a condition that causes your breathing to repeatedly stop and start again when you are sleeping. It can cause loss of oxygen and extreme fatigue during waking hours. Most people with this condition tend to snore due to airway obstruction. When your body stores fat around the neck, it may narrow the airway causing shallow breathing or pauses in breathing.
Frequent heartburn: Changes in your body weight, even slight ones, can lead to more acid reflux. More than one-third of overweight and obese individuals experience gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Some research suggests there could be a connection between being obese and developing GERD. Other symptoms of this condition include belching, nausea, a bitter taste in your mouth, and abdominal pain.
Achy joints: Obesity is a risk factor for osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is a disabling disorder that leads to joint deterioration, pain, decreased joint mobility, and a reduced quality of life. Carrying around extra weight applies more pressure on all of your joints, and as you gain weight, the pressure increases. If you have achy knees or hips, or chronic back pain, you may be experiencing signs of a weight problem.
Chronic fatigue: Excess weight puts additional pressure on your organs, including your lungs. If simple tasks, such as tying your shoes or cleaning a room, lead to fatigue, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing, you may have a weight problem.
Likewise, overweight and obese individuals have a greater risk of developing asthma. People with weight problems may experience chronic inflammation because of the excess weight. This may lead to inflammation in airways and can make breathing more difficult.