How do you measure up?
Body mass index and waist measurements are the tools most used to measure obesity
Karen Miller | 10/10/2013, 6 a.m.
1. Determine your Body Mass Index (BMI)
Although the Body Mass Index (BMI), a calculation based on height and weight, helps measure a person’s “desirable” weight, it is not always accurate. Athletic people with well-developed muscles often have a BMI higher than normal because muscle weighs more than fat. However, when combined with other measurements, such as waist size, the BMI is a helpful tool in determining whether a person should lose weight to reduce health risks.
Underweight Less than 18.5
Normal weight 18.5 – 24.9
Overweight 25 – 29.9
Obesity 30 or greater
Extreme obesity 40 and above
2. Measure your waist circumference
Accumulation of weight around and above the waist (apple-shaped) rather than the hips and buttocks (pear-shaped) increases a person’s risk for cardiovascular disease.
To accurately measure your waist:
- Place a tape measure around your bare abdomen just above your hip bone.
- Be sure the tape is snug but does not push into your skin.
- Check to make sure the tape measure is level all the way around.
- Relax, breathe out and measure your waist.
Desirable Waist Measurements
Women: 35 inches or less
Men: 40 inches or less
3. Calculate your disease risk for
- Type 2 diabetes
- heart disease — relative to your BMI and waist circumference.