A recent study published in the journal PLOS One, stated that reliance on BMI (Body Mass Index) to determine if someone is obese, is unreliable and significantly understates the true number of people who are obese. This understatement particularly applies to women because they tend to lose both bone and muscle as they age causing their body fat percentage to be much higher.

The BMI is a ratio of your weight to height (your weight in pounds divided by your height in inches squared multiplied by 703). People with BMI’s above 30 are considered obese.  When women with a BMI below 30 were measured for their percentage of body fat it was found that 50% of the women not considered obese by using BMI as the sole determinant, were in fact, obese when body fat was measured as a percentage of total weight.  The percentage was about 30% for men.


women and obesity


The researches stated some rather eye opening statistics:  Using BMI alone, 30% of Americans are obese, when using other methods like measuring body fat, a shocking 60% of Americans are obese.

Short spurts of high intensity training may both increase insulin sensitivity and therefore help with blood sugar control and may also increase leptin sensitivity (leptin is a hormone released by fat cells that signals when you have enough energy reserves and can stop eating.  Many over-weight people are leptin resistant and don’t get that signal to stop eating).

Walking, jogging bicycling, using a flex belt, treadmills, and recumbent bikes can be used to introduce short spurt high intensity exercise in to your daily activities.  Basically you initially go at a pace that is moderate (not too easy, not too hard) for a minute and a half.

Then for the next 20-30 seconds you increase the intensity to your personal maximum. At this point you will be gasping for air and can’t really speak very easily.  Then drop back to the more moderate pace for 90 seconds and do the high intensity spurt again for 20-30 seconds.

Initially, unless you are in really good shape, you probably won’t be able to do much more than 2-3 cycles of high intensity spurts, but try to work your way up, over time, to being able to doing 6-8.

Please confirm with your physician that there is nothing in your health history that would contraindicate doing this type of high intensity spurt exercise.

Curt Hendrix M.S. C.C.N. C.N.S.



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