Body Mass Index and Obesity Health Risks

Body Mass Index and Obesity Health Risks
By: Ayotunde Adeyeri, M.D., FASMBSdr-ayotunde-adeyeri-copy

Determining how much you should weigh is not a simple matter of looking at a height-weight chart; it also includes considering the amount of bone, muscle, and fat in your body’s composition. The amount of fat is the critical measurement. A good indicator of how much fat you carry is the Body Mass Index (BMI).

BMI is a measure of your weight as it relates to your height. It generally provides a good idea of the amount of body fat you have. Healthcare providers use BMI to find out your risk for obesity-related diseases. It is not a perfect scale – occasionally, some very muscular people may have an ‘overweight’ BMI, but they are not, in fact, overweight because muscle tissue weighs more than fat tissue. BMI can be calculated using pounds and inches:

  1. Multiply your weight in pounds by 703
  2. Multiply your height in inches by itself
  3. Divide the figure from step 1 by the figure in step 2. The resulting number is your BMI.

In general, a BMI from 20 to 24.9 in adults is considered to be ideal (normal weight). A BMI of more than 25 is considered overweight. A person is considered obese if the BMI is greater than 30 and is considered to have morbid obesity if the BMI is 40 or greater. In general, after the age of 50, a man’s weight tends to stay the same and often decreases slightly between ages 60 and 74. In contrast, a woman’s weight tends to increase until age 60, and then begins to decrease.

The chronic disease of obesity is preventable but it is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. Overweight means that you have extra body weight, and obesity means having a high amount of extra body fat. Both raise your risk for health problems, including coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, chronic pain, and certain types of cancer.

More than a third of U.S. adults are obese. People ages 60 and older are more likely to be obese than younger adults, according to the most recent data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. And the problem even affects children. Approximately 17 percent of U.S. children and adolescents ages 2 to 19 are obese.

            Last year bariatric surgery (according to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery) helped almost 200,000 Americans battle back against obesity by losing weight, lessening their risk of health problems and the need for prescription medications.

Candidates for bariatric surgery generally require a BMI of 40+ or more than100 pounds overweight, or those with a BMI of 35+ and at least one obesity-related chronic medical problem such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, fatty liver disease, osteoarthritis, lipid abnormalities, gastrointestinal disorders or heart disease. Very overweight men and women who have been unable to achieve or sustain significant weight loss may also qualify.

If you believe you are a candidate for weight loss surgery and suffer from weight-related health conditions, talk with your health care provider to learn more about a bariatric weight loss solution.

Dr. Adeyeri is a board-certified and fellowship-trained laparoscopic, bariatric and general surgeon and medical director of the Institute for Weight Loss at Raritan Bay Medical Center, a member of the Hackensack Meridian Health family. The Institute is accredited by the MBSAQIP as a Comprehensive Bariatric Center and provides individualized medical and surgical solutions and support for individuals seeking weight loss, including nutrition and lifestyle counseling. For more information or to attend a free bariatric surgery seminar, call 855.TIME.4.ME.

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