The BMI controversy?

As your Body Mass Index [BMI] increases, so does your risk of death.  But is BMI the best tool to determine your health status?

Calculated from your weight and height, BMI provides a general gauge of body fatness.   BMI is a correlation between an individual’s height and weight, but it does not distinguish between fat weight and muscle weight.

Figure your Body Mass Index using either your bioempedence scale, your body fat calipers or the following simple formula:

BMI=Weight in pounds x 703, divided by height in inches x height in inches

 

Or

BMI=[Weight x 703]/height2

For Example:

Weight in pounds = 150

Height in inches = 64

150 x 703 =  105,450

64 x 64 = 4096

105,450/4096 = 25.74

BMI = 25.74%

Your BMI number can fall into one of four adult categories:

Below 18.5 = Underweight

18.5 – 24.9+ = Normal

25.0 – 29.9 = Overweight

30.0 and above = Obese

As your BMI increases, so does your risk of death from many possible causes, such as ischemic heart disease, stroke and various types of cancers.  Based upon a study published in the online March 2009 Lancet, a collaborative analysis of 57 studies found that BMI is a “reasonably good measure” of general adiposity – body fat.

Researchers reported the lowest mortality was in those with a BMI of 22.5 to 25 kg/m2. As BMI slightly increases, the mortality rate begins to skyrocket.  each 5 kg/m2 higher BMI was associated with about 30% higher all-cause mortality (40% for vascular; 60–120% for diabetic, renal, and hepatic; 10% for neoplastic; and 20% for respiratory and for all other mortality). In other words, as BMI increased overall death rate increased.

Having an above normal range BMI can result in these health conditions:

  • Hypertension
  • Dyslipidemia
  • Type-2 diabetes
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Stroke
  • Sleep apnea
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Various cancers

People frequently state that muscle weighs more than fat.  Its simply not true, a pound of muscle weighs exactly the same as a pound of fat.  It just so happens that fat occupies nearly 18% more volume for the same pound weight, and muscle tends to adhere to tightly to skeletal structures, whereas fat drapes loosly.  Because BMI fails to distinguish between fat and muscle, because it is weight based, a better way of looking at this was needed, hence a calculation of actual percentage fat by bioimpedance scale or skin calipers or more scientifically with DEXA scan.

Danger also lurks behind that expanding waistline: highly active, toxic abdominal fat  heightens your disease risk. Check your waist girth with a tape measure, starting at the top of the hipbone. Measure at your greatest waist area, keeping the tape measure even, not pulling too tightly. A total of over 40 inches for men or over 35 inches for women means it’s high time to get serious about taking control of your health and future.  The abdominal girth or waist measurement is a quick tool in determining your cardiac risk, it looks more at the volume of fat in the abdomen rather than the weight.

The waist to hip ratio is an important tool that helps you determine your overall health risk. People with more weight around their waist are at greater risk of lifestyle related diseases such as heart disease and diabetes than those with weight around their hips. It is a simple and useful measure of fat distribution.

Use a measuring tape to check the waist and hip measurements.
- Measure your hip circumference at it’s widest part.
- Measure your Waist Circumference at the belly button or just above it.

Simply take your waist measurement / your hip measurement; for example:

Waist to hip ratio:

Waist circumference / hip circumference

Waist: 32

Hip: 30

Ratio: 32/30 = 1.07

 

MALE                          FEMALE:                     Health risk based on ratio only

.95 or below               .80 or below               Low Risk

.96 – 1.0                     .81-.85                        Moderate Risk

1.0 +                           .85 +                           High Risk

Perhaps exercise tolerance and maximal exercise capacity by measuring METs  may be the best indicator of body health and longevity, a functional test  of exercise capacity rather than a weight test or a size test.

If you are truly interested in losing abdominal fat, check out our mdHCG protocol for a guaranteed solution.

Exercise as if your life depended upon it! It really does.

Exercise as if your life depends upon it, it really does.  Men who achieved >7 METs (highly to very highly fit) level demonstrated a 50%-70% lower mortality risk than “low fit” subjects.

In a study published in the Journal Circulation, researchers assessed “the association between exercise capacity and mortality” in over 14,000 men—subjects whose average age was 60, who did or didn’t have cardiovascular disease and who successfully completed a treadmill test.  Men who achieved >7 METs (highly to very highly fit) level demonstrated a 50%-70% lower mortality risk than “low fit” subjects.

The highest-intensity aspect of exercise, the hardest part. is the 15 seconds of sprinting at the end of a long run, or the most difficult 10 seconds of pumping during a peak level on an exercise bike, or the last few repetitions when exercising muscles to failure.   One “metabolic equivalent” [MET] is the amount of oxygen used by an average person at rest  and increases proportionally with the intensity of exercise.

A MET is used as a practical means of expressing the intensity and energy expenditure of physical activities in a way comparable among persons of different weight; but actual energy expenditure (e.g., in calories or joules) during a physical activity depends on the person’s body mass, therefore the energy cost of the same physical activity will be different for persons of different weight.  In other words, METs as defined by most exercise equipment cannot be used to determine metabolic rate directly.  Never the less, a physical activity with a MET value of 2, such as walking at a slow pace (e.g., 3 km/h) would require for a specific person twice the energy that person consumes at rest (e.g., sitting quietly), a MET value of 1.

In this study, fitness categories based on METs achieved are were:

  • low                              [5 METs]
  • moderate                   [5-7 METs]
  • highly                         [7.1 to 10METs]
  • very highly fit            [over 10 METs]

Subjects exercised until tired; with follow-ups done for 7.5 years on average.  Men who achieved >7 METs (highly to very highly fit)—demonstrated a 50%-70% lower mortality risk than “low fit” subjects.  The chances of staying alive increased by 12 to 13 percent with each increase of a single metabolic equivalent [MET] when exercising as hard as possible on a treadmill.  Peak MET achieved is a better predictor of how long someone will live than other factors – including health risk factors like high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure, and even heart disease.

The risk of death was reduced by 50% with an improved exercise capacity attained of just  30 minutes per session, 5-6 days per week.   And even if  30 minutes was too much , splitting the routine into 10-15 minute segments (morning/evening) gives the same benefit. Additionally, even moderate intensity exercise, greater then 7 METs offers significant health benefits.

  • Increased health span: A study following Harvard grads for 30 years showed those moderately active were at substantially decreased risk of death.
  • Decreased health risks: Strengthening the heart muscle for good circulation, decreased blood pressure and reduced stroke risk.
  • Reduced stress and significantly improved mood: With a moderate intensity workout of 20 minutes or more.
  • Increased muscle endurance: Making daily activities easier.
  • Improved sleep quality: Researchers at Stanford, Emory and the University of Oklahoma reported older people doing brisk walking and/or low-impact aerobics four times a week went to sleep faster and slept an hour longer than before (Harvard Health Letter, March 1997).

Many of these benefits accrue due to the improved endocrine profile; with resultant elevated Thyroid Hormone, Testosterone, and Growth Hormone.  Insulin sensitivity also seems to be enhanced with improved glucose control, resulting in less fat deposition, increased fat mobilization as usable energy, and reduced total Insulin levels and elevated Glucagon levels.

The key element in obtaining health benefits is the high intensity nature of the exercise, and the relatively short duration of the exercise.  MET capacity is even more important than the traditionally measured BMI or waist hip ratio.

If you are truly interested in losing abdominal fat, check out our mdHCG protocol for a guaranteed solution.