Being Overweight – Health Risks and BMI

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Before starting a weight loss program or just to get an overview of your general fitness, health professionals use measurements such as BMI to get a general accounting of your health. BMI’s between 25 and less than 30 signifies that you are overweight. Any value of 30 and over is classified as obese. However, according to an advisory published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, using BMI may not give an accurate accounting of your health.

After comparing the relationship between overweight and risk of death from all causes, researchers found contradictory results. They surmised that considering death from all causes overlooks the role that being overweight may play in the development of risk factors for cardiovascular diseases.

Measuring Overweight
The report went on to state that part of the problem has to do with the way being overweight is measured. When BMI is measured, a relationship between your height and weight is taken. However, no distinction is made between lean mass and body fat. The measurement also does not indicate where the fat is stored. Fat around the your waist is more detrimental to your health than fat around your hips.

Other Factors of BMI
Other factors that the test also does not take into effect are gender, ethnicity, and age. In one study, men with a BMI of greater than 27 and women with BMI greater than 30 were associated with an increased in all cause mortality. In another study related to Cancer Prevention, BMI in the overweight range was linked to increased rates of death in white men and women, while in black men and women, there was no significant association. As for individuals older than 65, age may modify the risk. Those younger than 65 were shown to have a higher health risk in the overweight range, than those who were older.

What To Do
Regardless, according to the report, their is still considerable debate as to whether just being overweight is reason to raise the alarm. Further research is needed to weight the cost for prevention of overweight and obesity. The report concludes that, however, health professionals cannot afford to wait for research addressing overweight patients. This is because that are advantages for overweight as wells as obese persons in adopting a healthy lifestyle, especially since weight gain is progressive and losing weight is more difficult.