Keep your BMI in check

by Dr. S. Russell Vester, MD 30. March 2013 11:45

Having calculated your BMI, where do you fit? What’s the bad news, Doc?

Well, brace yourself.

An ideal body weight is defined as a BMI of 18.5 to 25. North of 25 but below thirty 30 you are, to use a technical medical term, chunky. Thirty and above and you are obese. Right now one in three people in America have a BMI of thirty or above! North of 40 and you are so fat that you are in more trouble than you realize. I don’t mean to be unkind by this last comment, but please, let’s not try to extend a pattern of denial further than it’s already gone.

There is no straight line relationship between levels of obesity and a variety of other health problems. What is true, though, is that the fatter you are the more of these you’ll have and quite likely the worse they will be. And no one gets a free pass. Mother Nature is not that kind. You mess with her, she messes back.

The problems you will encounter will include: high blood pressure, diabetes and low HDL levels (the good cholesterol). These in turn are each associated with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Combined together, any two or all three at the same time, and you will personally be responsible for some hospital administrator’s Christmas bonus.

And we haven’t even discussed the excessive wear and tear on your skeleton from carrying all that extra weight day in and day out. These parts were designed/evolved to carry a certain amount of weight for a certain amount of time. If you exceed that design specification, there will be consequences. All the weight-bearing parts will wear out. The most vulnerable parts are your lower back, your hips and your knees. As a heart surgeon these last items are a bit out of my range, but I hear about it a lot from my orthopedic buddies.

So be aware of what you are doing to yourself when you agree to super size because it’s such a “great value.” The above is intended to help show you the real end product of that value equation. The real price of that “value” is paid by you.

 

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