Posts Tagged ‘BMI’


April 21st, 2012

I apologize for starting off the weekend with “not the best of news” but if it helps to call attention to the problem and gets women to take the necessary steps to protect their health and lives, than I guess it’s worth it.

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.

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.





May 13th, 2011


For many years you may have been reading about the importance of keeping your BMI (Body Mass Index) below 25.   Above 25 is considered over-weight and over 30 is considered obese.

But there have been many critics of using BMI to determine health and mortality (likelihood of dying) risks.  I have been one of those who questioned the true value of BMI.   BMI is a ratio comparing your weight to your height.

If one were to think about it, this is a rather general statistic and makes NO allowance for the fact that some people are just broader than others.  Some people are just more naturally muscular than others. So it is not surprising that researchers have recently confirmed that at least for patients with clogged arteries (and it’s my guess , for everyone else too) that the location of your body fat presents a much higher risk of premature death,  than an elevated BMI.

Research just recently published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, found that for people with clogged arteries, (most of us have no idea if our arteries are clogged or not, until it’s too late) that abdominal fat (belly fat) is a far superior indicator of risk of death than BMI.

The study collected data from 15,000 patients and determined that where the fat is located is more important than carrying a little extra fat throughout the body.

To put it in terms of what your figure might look like, it is better to be pear-shaped (carrying the extra weight in the hips and thighs) than it is to be apple-shaped (carrying the weight around your middle).

The double whammy would be to be apple shaped (excess belly-fat) and also have a high BMI.

So how do you know when you might be at risk, if you can’t use BMI as a measuring device?  The answer is that you can use two other measurements that are thought to be better predictors of mortality.

1-     Waist Circumference – Just take out a tape measure, make sure you measure at the belly button level and if you are a woman with a waist over 35 inches or a man with a waist over 40 inches, you are at increased risk.

2-     Waist to Hip Ratio – This time measure both your waist and your hips (measure the hips around the hip bone which protrudes from the side of the very top of your leg).  Then divide the waist measurement by the hip measurement.  For women the number should be .80 or less (that is, point eighty, less than one) and for men it should be .95 or less.

This in very important to keep in mind when considering your over all health regimen.


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