The weight you are is only important to your gyno if it is a weight consistent with optimal health according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Years ago we stopped worrying, as much, about what we weigh, as how much body fat we have based on either calculations or using an estimation of height and weight called the BMI. If you are aiming for optimal health your weight is more important in ‘context.’ That context being any medical conditions, how much you move, and exactly how fit you are. In fact, you can be too thin as well. Here’s the new normal (s) for BMI:
1. 1998 they realized, based on health data that the official cut offs were too high to be consistent with health goals. June 16th, 1998 they reclassified BMI from 27.8 in all men and 27.3 in all women, to under a cut off of 24 It was estimated that over 29 million Americans were suddenly reclassified as needing to lose weight or as CNN put it at the time ‘were too fat’ The WHO had already moved to those definitions in 1993.
2. The reason physicians had picked 30 as the cut off of obesity, is that the risk of death in those individuals was almost 100% higher than those who have a BMI of 20-24. After that, in 1993, data surfaced a new normal of under 23 was proposed for Asian heritage individuals, since at any given weight cut off they were at a much greater risk of Type 2 Diabetes, but that norm has only been maintained at a ‘point of recommendation’ by WHO, however in Japan and China they still define overweight as greater than 24.
3. A new subgroup has now been target as falsely thinking they have a normal BMI, when in fact their risk factors combined with their deep viseral fat means they are not a normal BMI, and need reclassifying. This group is the post menopausal female. The newest research is that the cut off for menopausal women for obese of 30 for this group is too high, 27.5 BMI is proposed to be called obese. Body fat analysis has been determined to be a more accurate way to determine your health. The DXA way of measuring the body fat has the least amount of error. Experts do not agree on what level of body fat you should have at a given age. Many define ideal as over 32%, but over 35% has been determined by research to confer such high general risk of disease that many experts are willing to settle on this number.
4. All individuals develop more waistline and viseral fat as they age, but it happens to women in greater numbers. And it’s about 2/3 of women with normal BMI cannot meet that body fat criteria when they are over the age of their menopause, whether it be 40 or 55.
5. Now the good news is that as you age even older, over 70 or 80, you may be again allowed to creep up in both weight and body fat, and with a normal muscle mass the CDC says those with BMI of under 27 at that age are still considered healthy!
If you would like your body fat measured by DXA a very accurate way to both track trends, and location of the lean and non-lean body mass, call 217-356-3736 at www.womenshealthpractice. A series of 4 tests will run about $300.