The Ideal Weight

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The Ideal Weight

December 10, 2003

Why Is It So Important? How Do We Calculate?

Health is one of the most important factors that affect the quality of our life from childhood to old age. Our hospital can treat various illnesses and conditions to improve your health. But it is an even more important task to prevent disease through the effort of your doctors and YOURSELF.

In this series of articles we will talk about many sides of health and how to improve, preserve this precious asset of ours.

There has been a flood of information in the news about the importance of weight. Many of us probably started to look at ourselves to see if the latest curse of modern civilization - obesity affects us or not.

But how do we know if we need to lose weight?

The simple answer would be to look in the mirror. But we have different bodies and different cultural backgrounds. So we see ourselves differently.

The best method nowadays to estimate whether we are overweight or obese is to use the Body Mass Index (or BMI). This index has been shown to accurately estimate whether our weight is all right or we need to shed a few pounds.

The BMI is calculated from the person's weight and height. Since the calculation is somewhat complicated in pounds and inches, I recommend the use of a chart or a calculator.

If you have access to the internet simply calculate your BMI and visit the Centers for Disease Control web site at http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/bmi/calc-bmi.htm .

For children, it is more complicated to calculate BMI since it has to be counted with age in addition to the height and weight. If you understand medical language, read the link below or bring this address to the attention of your pediatrician who can help you with the calculation: http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/bmi/bmi-for-age.htm .

Now that you calculated your BMI let us see what these numbers tell us:

Your weight is normal if your BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9. If your BMI is less than 18.5, you are underweight. If it is 25 and over, you probably need to lose weight (you are overweight) and if it is 30 or more you are considered obese. Keep in mind that BMI is a good measurement tool but not without limitations. A very muscular person, for example, a body builder, may have a BMI of 28 and not have any excess fat. But these calculations will be correct for most people. Check with your physician about your BMI.

Questions on overweight and obesity?
Email andras@fenyves.net or make an appointment with our specialists at 718-250-8000

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