How do we assess our size in a healthy way, and how do we get away from worrying about being "fat"?!
Harvard Health Publications states that most people have their own "private" way of assessing how "fat" they are -- like feeling your pants getting tight or loose, or catching your reflection in the mirror. But how do we determine what is body fat, and what is bone structure, muscles, organs, hair... all that other stuff that comprises the mass that is our weight? There are three common ways in the mix right now:
- Body Mass Index, BMI -- your weight in kg divided by the square of your heigh in meters. It's generally a good measure of health risk as most studies show that with an increased BMI comes an increase in cardiovascular disease related deaths.
- The down side... BMI does not separate pounds from fat from pounds that are created by fat-free tissue like muscle and bone. It also doesn't tell us what kind of fat it is. Could it be from healthy subcutaneous fat that's below the skin which protects us and keeps us warm? Who knows?!
- Waist Measurement -- not about weight or total body fat, but about the metabolically active fat that collects around the organs in our abdomens. Waist measurement is a great predictor of diabetes and a good indicator of heart disease risk.
- The down side... where do you measure "the waist" on the body? Is it at navel level? And it just might not be scientific enough to add to more quantifiable things like cholesterol, or blood pressure screenings.
- Waist-to-hip ratio, WHR -- your waist circumference divided by hip circumference. Basically a smaller waist and larger hips is usually associated with a decreased right of heart disease, stroke, and other health problems.
To me... nothing really.