Body mass Index (BMI) has been the standard used for years to determine whether someone is at a healthy weight. But is it really that simple?
The weight and health connection
It’s no secret that being overweight typically comes with health problems. This includes heart disease, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, and even risks of certain cancers. But does this mean all people with a higher BMI are destined to have these issues? Experts haven’t yet agreed upon this issue. One study showed that some people with a BMI over 30 had no evidence of heart disease risk factors, leading people to believe that you can be overweight but healthy. But then this year, a subsequent study that followed over 2,000 overweight people for 20 years found that they did eventually develop heart problems, even if they didn’t have them initially.
Another point to remember is that BMI isn’t everything. Some people just naturally weigh more than others, whether due to bone structure, muscle mass, or body frame size. So, a 160-pound woman is not necessarily less healthy than a 140-pound woman. Many other factors need to be taken into account to determine a person’s health risks and overall well-being.
Diet and exercise are the keys
What most physicians will agree upon is that what you eat and how active you are matter more than what the scale says. If you eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein, and you get out and walk several times a week, you’re going to experience health benefits. If you keep up with it long term, your body will continue to get healthier over time.
Conversely, people with a “healthy” BMI who eat mainly processed foods and lots of sugar and never exercise may have a higher risk of health problems, even if the scale says they’re okay. They may naturally look thin, but their health isn’t the best it can be.
Measuring health factors — not your body weight
The only way to really know how healthy you are is to see your physician regularly. Get your blood pressure and cholesterol checked, and go to your well visits. Get your cancer screenings as recommended, such as a colonoscopy or mammogram. If you’re hoping to lose weight, talk with your physician about your goals and ways you can make them happen. Or if you’re struggling, talk about that too.
Your physician wants to know how he or she can help you be the healthiest version of yourself, no matter what the scale says.
CarePoint Health Bariatric Surgery
CarePoint Health Center for Bariatric Surgery offers a number of different weight-loss surgeries to help you meet your weight-loss goals, including sleeve gastrectomy, Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery, LAP-BAND®, and REALIZE® Band. To learn more about our bariatric surgery options, contact us at 201-795-8175 and register for our free seminar.
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