Do you remember when the body mass index charts first came out? People wanted to know if they’d be considered overweight and unhealthy so they took out their calculators to find out.  Many, especially athletes were shocked to learn they were labeled obese. Some of these were professional athletes who seemed the perfect imagine of strength, power, and health.

     After they had calculated their body mass index (BMI) many were surprised to learn that their calculated number showed a detriment to their health. How do you calculated this number, anyway? It’s really pretty simple. All you do is multiply your weight in pounds by 703, then divide the square of your height in inches.

     After using a mass body index calculator you get your big number. What exactly does it mean? Well, in most cases, not much. In the first place, your BMI doesn’t distinguish muscle from fat. You might have a body fat percentage of 8% with a lot of added muscle, and the body mass index chart will say you are obese, and could be a risk for significant health issues. On the other hand, suppose you’ve never exercised a day in your life and your body fat is 30%, but you weigh less than a fit person with an 8% level of body fat. The BMI chart might suggest your weight is right where it should be and you are at very little risk for health problems. This is where the BMI chart is misleading. Recent studies have shown a weak and inconsistent correlation between a high BMI and disease or early death.

     To get a more accurate picture of how BMI can affect health, body fat ratio should be calculated and considered. Also measure your waist, hips and height, then calculate your wais-to-hip ratio, and divide the waist measurement by the hip measurement. Men should be under 0.9, and women should be under 0.8. A good guideline for men is to keep their waists well under 40 inches, and women under 35 inches. Your waist should be one half your height. Many factors go into determining your risk level so there are just rough estimates. For example, how much exercise do you get. What kind of foods do you eat?

     If your numbers are higher than the ones mentioned above, it’s time to start exercising and cutting calories. Also, always consider your body fat percentage versus your lean muscle tissue. It’s important to keep the body fat as low as possible, preferably under 30% for both men and women. Not relying on the body mass index charts to predict your chance of poor health is important

     It’s no secret that gaining weight raises your risk for chronic diseases, but researchers are not finding that those who gain weight during their younger years are at a higher risk. And while you can’t turn back the clock and rid yourself of the pounds you toted around during your younger years, research shows it’s never too late to reduce your risk — and slim down.
     Losing weight is important. A weight loss of five to 10 percent of current body weight has been shown to improve glucose control and keeping your carb intake to 50 percent or less of your total calories helps, too.
    More fiber is good for you also because it does more than make you feel fuller. By promoting slower blood glucose increases so spikes may not go as high. This stable blood glucose with less ‘peaks and troughs’ decreases the risk of certain diseases.

     People who carry weight in the abdomen are at higher risk for heart disease and diabetes than those who pack their pounds in the butt and thighs. You may have no control over where those extra pounds show themselves, but you still need to watch your weight and strengthen those muscles.