How to measure weight ?

A few generations ago, doctors paid little attention to their patients’ body weight one way or another. If doctors saw the occasional case of middle-aged spread (a widening waistline or belly), they might simply blame the person’s wealthy way of life and note in their records “portly” or“stout.” More recently, however, doctors regard physical mass and body fat as important markers of health. And the health-care field has adopted some tools for measuring what is healthy and what is not so healthy. The standards are based on years of looking at the connections among weight and diseases and life spans.

The most widely used measurement of adult weight is body mass index (BMI). BMI measures your weight in relation to your height. It yields an index number that provides more accurate measures of body fat. Belgian scientist Adolphe QuĂ©telet came up with the BMI method, so its calculations are based on the metric system of measurements used in Europe (kilograms of weight and meters of height). But you can figure your own BMI using pounds and inches by adding an extra step. Here’s how it’s done:

BMI = (pounds x 703)/inches squared

For example, someone who weighs 220 pounds (100 kg) and is 5 feet 7 inches (1.7 meters) tall would set up the following equation:

BMI = (220 pounds x 703) / (67 inches x 67 inches)= 154,660/4,489= 34.45

Based on years of research, health experts say that a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 represents ideal weight. And indeed, research shows that people who have BMIs between 19 and 22 tend to live the longest. 

Someone with a BMI of 25 to 29.9 is described as overweight. Anyone with a BMI between 30 and 39.9 is termed obese, including our sample person above. 

A BMI of 40 or more usually means having more than 100 pounds (45 kg) excess weight. Weight experts label people with BMIs in this range as morbidly obese because many health problems occur with this excess. Between 1994 and 2000, the number of morbidly obese Americans nearly doubled and in 2007 stands at about nine million.

BMI does not distinguish between fat and lean muscle, so it is not as reliable in judging the weight status of muscular athletes. It is also not very good at judging the elderly, who tend to lose muscle mass as they age.
(Weight and Healt - Wendy Murphy)


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