While it’s a common belief, your body weight does not always accurately reflect your health.
Your weight tells you nothing about your body’s composition, nor does it indicate where hidden fat might be accumulating.
Over the years, you may lose muscle and gain fat but see little change in your weight.
Such a change in body composition may reflect declining health, especially if you have visceral fat packed in and around your abdominal organs.
Visceral fat is associated with a heightened risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
In fact, a recent report found that women drinking two or more sugar-sweetened beverages a day were more likely to develop raised levels of triglycerides and accumulate visceral fat – even if they did not put on weight overall.
According to DrBriffa.com:
“It’s entirely possible for someone to be a ‘healthy’ weight, and have biochemical and physiological evidence of enhanced risk of disease.”
Can You Be Skinny and Still Be in Poor Health?
The short answer is yes.
It’s certainly possible to be thin and unhealthy.
However, overall, there are far more unhealthy overweight people than unhealthy thin people.
The central issue that primes you for poor health is insulin and leptin resistance, which is far more common in overweight individuals than thin.
But regardless of your physical size, measuring your insulin, leptin and cholesterol levels can give you a good indication of whether or not you are “metabolically fit,” and whether you’re headed toward chronic illness, regardless of your weight.
That said, health problems related to excess weight are definitely more common.
The risks of obesity are fairly well-known by now – obese adults tend to have higher rates of high blood pressure, abnormal lipids, cancer and diabetes, for example.
Your body is designed to operate best when it’s at an ideal weight, which varies slightly from person to person. However, carrying around extra pounds will inevitably increase your risk of developing just about every chronic degenerative disease there is, so the idea that you can be overweight and maintain optimal health indefinitely can easily lead you down the wrong path.
How to Measure Your Body Composition
The body mass index (BMI) gauges your weight in relation to height. However, this measurement is rather flawed, particularly for those who are very muscular. These individuals can easily be misclassified as obese (since muscle weighs more than fat) when in fact they’re just carrying a lot of muscle and very little fat. The BMI measurement also does not give you any indication of where the fat is located in your body, and this appears to be more important than the amount of fat when it comes to measuring heart risks.
The easiest and perhaps best way to measure your body composition is to simply measure your waist size. Studies have shown that your waist size is a far more accurate predictor of your heart risks than your BMI, as abdominal fat in particular is strongly associated with heart disease. Your waist size is also a powerful indicator of insulin sensitivity, as studies clearly show that measuring your waist size is one of the most powerful ways to predict your risk for diabetes.
Determining your waist size is easy. With a tape measure, figure the distance around the smallest area of your abdomen below your rib cage and above your belly button. If you’re not sure if you have a healthy waist circumference, a general guide is:
- For men, between 37 and 40 inches is overweight and more than 40 inches is obese
- For women, 31.5 to 34.6 inches is overweight and more than 34.6 inches is obese
For even greater accuracy, you can resort to hydrostatic weighing, where you get weighed under water. This measures the density of your body, which is then used to calculate how much body fat you have.
Another technique that is gaining support by medical and fitness experts is the bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA). To measure body impedance, an electrical signal is passed through your body. Impedance is greatest in fat tissue, which contains low amounts of water, while fat-free mass, which contains up to 75 percent water, allows the signal to pass through fairly unimpeded. This measurement, along with other factors such as your height, weight, and body type, is then used to calculate your percentage of body fat, fat-free mass and other body composition values.
Rasalkhaimah, ras, al, khaimah, dubai, university, salford, manchester, @hishamsafadi, hisham, safadi, European, medical, center, business, entrepreneur, startup, economy, money, motivation, education, Leadership, Transactional, analysis, emotional, intelligence, organisations, development, innovative, technology, care, health, investor, investment, production, shark, tank, sharktank, USA, UK, London, group, european, canada, india, china, japan, KSA