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Question
Posted by: Marina | 2007/07/18

ways of measuring

At the moment I sit with 3 "targets" for slimming gained from the printed and electronic media: BMI, Weighless-based target weight, and measurement around my waist. According to BMI, I'm at the far end of overweight (I'm 5"2; 74kg), with WL I'm 12 kg overweight, my waist is 85cm. The latter seems to be a healthy measurement against heart disease. I'm 51, and therefore don't aspire to be thin and gaunt, which would make me look 10 years older. My blood pressure and cholesterol are normal.

Please tell me what I should aim for.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDietDoc

Dear Marina
Your present BMI = 30, which is in the obese range. To get back to the normal range with a BMI of 25 you would need to lose those 12 kg suggested by Weighless. A BMI of 25 would not make you thin and gaunt but your weight would be back to normal.
So aim to lose 12 kg. The Weighless approach is an excellent one and you should be successful.
Best regards
DietDoc

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Conrad | 2007/07/19

Hi Marina,

The use of BMI can be misleading in many cases and I am not an advocate of it being the be all and end all of determining whether ones weight is correct or not.

The reason for this is that the BMI only takes total weight and height into account. It does not distinguish between fat mass and non-fat mass and is therefore a very course measurement.

The most accurate way of determining whether one's mass is correct is to determine one's fat percentage (anthropometric profile). In determining the anthropometric profile, variables such as skeletal size and mass, muscle mass are taken into account. A fat percentage in the range of 15 to 25 percent is normal for women (for health purposes). Fat percentage of less than 15% is approaching the unhealthy side of the continuum. Unfortunately fat plays a role in hormone regulation and women that have too little fat (note that nowhere am I referring to weight) run the risk of developing osteoporosis, dysmenorhia, mood swings as a result of hormonal fluctuations.

As far as the waist circumference is concerned. It is a measure of abdominal adiposity (fat). The fat stored around the abdomen is unhealthy fat. Fat stored around the hips and thighs is not as unhealthy. Until recently the waist hip ratio was used (WHR), where the size of the hips were taken into account as well. Men store fat around the abdomen more readily than women (there are however exceptions to this rule), but once a woman has post menopausal there is an increased tendency toward fat deposition around the abdomen. This is a result of lower levels of female hormones and therefore the percentage of testosterone (yes you ladies have testosterone as well) is higher.

Last, but not least, please remember that there is no short cut to losing weight and starvation diets do not work. The body burns energy in certain metabolic ways, which unfortunately cannot be changed ( I refer here to the Krebbs cycle - which produces energy from different sources). The best way to lose weight is LSD (no, not the drug), but Long, Slow, Distance in conjunction with a healthy diet. In other words you need to watch what you eat (not starve yourself - here is the dietician's role) and be moderately active. You need to do moderate aerobic type exercise (walk, swim, cycle etc) for 45 to 60 minutes 3 to 5 times per week.

I am passionate about healthy weight and weight loss as I specialised in cardiovascular health and rehabilitation and my masters and Ph.D studies were in this area. I also work with cardiovascular patients every day, so this field is my bread and butter (no pun intended).

PLease contact me for any other information you may need.

Regards

Conrad

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