Friday, January 8, 2010

What's a healthy weight?

Here in the United States, we seem to struggle with two extremes of weight: those who are too light for their size, and those who are too heavy for their size. We used to rely on Body Mass Index or BMI, but then we recognized that BMI has some significant limitations. So we added waist circumference as an additional measure.

There's a strong movement to get people to accept any type of weight. Some feel that people can be very healthy at any weight. Is this true?

I don't think you'll find a physician who agrees that a patient can be healthy at any weight. Instead, there is a healthy weight range that is optimal for each individual. If you're grossly outside of this range (either too low or too high), then you will be at increased risk for some serious health problems. This isn't to say that you'll definitely encounter such health problems, but epidemiological evidence reveals that people who are either too underweight or overweight will have health problems.

As we start this New Year, do you plan to change your weight? Weight loss is one of the most common New Year's Resolutions that people make. The problem in our society is that we have many people trying to lose weight when they're already at a healthy weight. We also have many people who are not at a healthy weight and they're not trying to lose weight. When will our culture accept the concept of a healthy weight?

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