We should all strive to maintain a healthy weight in order to prevent things like heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes — all of which are linked to obesity. In order to do this, you not only need to ensure you’re getting regular physical activity, but make sure you’re eating the healthiest foods as possible, too. That means avoiding things like sugar, carbohydrates, and sodium — and swapping the otherwise unhealthy stuff with more nutrient-rich (and naturally sweet) fruits, vegetables, fibre, whole grains, and protein. Eating healthy will not only help you maintain a healthy weight but will also significantly reduce your risk of some of the aforementioned health concerns (and more), thus increasing your quality of life.
In North America, an estimated 73.9% of people are overweight, with an average body mass of approximately 80.7 kg (177 lbs.) As for what your ideal weight should be, that depends on a number of different factors, such as height and age, as well as your body’s composition of things like fat, muscle and bone. In fact, fat is considered one of the most critical measurements, and you can determine this through your BMI (body mass index.)
BMI is separated into 5 different categories:
• Morbid Obesity
If you are underweight, your BMI is typically below 19. If you have a normal BMI, it will range anywhere between 19 and 24, while those who are overweight can have a BMI of 25 to 29, 30 to 39 for those who are obese, and 40 or above for those who are morbidly obese. Remember, the higher your BMI number, the higher your risk is of developing serious health problems, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, gallstones, diabetes, respiratory problems, and even certain types of cancer.
It’s also important to note that not everyone will have the same BMI number. For example, gender is also important when it comes to determining what your ideal weight should be, but is not something that is typically taken into consideration on a BMI chart. Those who are younger or athletic may also have a higher BMI than the average individual due to having stronger muscles and denser bones, while adults typically lose muscle and bone as they age and therefore their body weight will often come more-so from their fat (even if they aren’t overweight or obese.) Women also tend to carry more body fat than men, while men have a higher muscle-mass, so this can also play a role in differing BMI numbers. How your body stores fat can also have an impact on your health. For example, those who store body fat around their hips are at a decreased risk of developing health problems than those who store body fat around their waist. The higher your waist-to-hip ratio is, the higher your risk is of developing many of the aforementioned health issues.
The bottom line is that there is no one ideal weight for all. Your ideal weight depends on you and you alone. What’s important is that you keep up a healthy lifestyle, and if you have any concerns about your weight (or health in general) then you should not hesitate to address those concerns upon your next visit with your family physician.
Originally published at alighahary.ca on January 12, 2019.