City Social Magazine

MAY-JUN 2016

City Social Magazine in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

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20 20 r e a d u s o n l i n e a t w w w . c i t y s o c i a l . c o m Have you ever been told by a health care provider that you're classified as obese? Many Americans are told this every day, unfairly. Members of the diet and healthcare communities have simple guidelines to follow that put us all in boxes, regardless of our physical condition. Inserting height and weight into these boxes tells us where we should fall regarding overall weight and nothing more. The problem with this method is nothing beyond height and weight are considered. For example, two very different young women are given the same results—one a 5′2″ gymnast in incredible competing shape gets the same result as another young woman, at the same height and weight, who has poor eating habits and not in shape. The system is clearly flawed. BMI (Body Mass Index) method of testing has its merits, but it's flawed. BMI classifies whether a person is overweight or obese by dividing a person's body weight by height squared. BMI is criticized because it doesn't differentiate between muscle and fat. Therefore, muscular individuals like the one mentioned above can be wrongly classified as overweight, even obese. Kevin D. Hall, a Senior Investigator, Chief of the Integrative Physiology Section, and creator of the NIH Body Weight Planner at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, tells an interesting case of miss-classification to are you obese or simply overweight? How to Identify Your Ideal Healthy Weight the Washington Post. He reported that according to Dallas Cowboy's star quarterback Tony Romo's BMI, he's borderline obese. Crazy, right? Many healthcare providers argue that body fat calipers are a more accurate approach to differentiating the obese population from the simply overweight. Calipers work by taking measurements of fat by pulling flesh and fat away from the muscle and taking a measurement. This measurement identifies a person's body fat percentage versus their overall weight. The pros are anyone can regularly take measurements in the comfort of their home for very little money. This method has a margin of error as well, but it's a far more accurate way to identify where a person's weight should be. Body fat scales and monitors use an electrical current to measure body fat. These methods aren't perfect either. An electrical current is sent through the body using a biometrical impedance analysis. On paper, this technical approach sounds impressive. However, the monitors can be very inaccurate depending on the amount of water weight a person carries. Bod Pods use displaced air to measure a person's body mass, volume and density. While this method is pretty accurate, test sites are not readily available, and the fee per session is costly. Water Displacement testing is another accurate test, but it's also expensive and tedious. DEXA Scanning is the most accurate way to measure body fat, but it is hard to come by and expensive. Scanning is done at a health facility where your entire body is X-rayed. At the end of the day, you know your body, your lifestyle, diet and exercise regimen. Yes, you should consider what a trained healthcare provider shares with you. Use a method you feel comfortable with and use it as a guideline to lower your body fat. Keep track of your diet, exercise regularly and get help from a trained professional if you're unsuccessful in your weight loss goals. You may be ingesting too many or the wrong type of calories. You exercise schedule may not be efficient or may not support your caloric intake. The world is filled with unhealthy thin people and healthy overweight people. Find a program that suits your lifestyle, budget and goals to be a healthier, fit you.

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