Here we are, well into the month of January. If you set goals for the New Year, how are you doing on them? Improving eating habits and losing weight are probably the most popular goals set for New Year’s resolutions. But in the middle of January, with the temperature below zero and it being dark outside early in the evening, it’s easy to slip into a lazy routine. A movie and snack on the couch seem easy to justify over a workout at the gym.
An interesting segment that was on the news the other night was discussing the risks of obesity. A lot of people want to lose weight “to look better.” Certainly that can be a reason to lose weight, but there are many other health risks associated with obesity that we should be happy to dodge as well.
If someone posed the question to you about what chronic diseases could be avoided or better-controlled if a person’s weight was within a normal range, which ones would come to your mind? When this question was posed in a news segment, many people could identify that diabetes and heart disease could be better controlled if someone wasn’t obese or overweight.
Those definitely are two chronic diseases associated with weight and can be better managed and controlled at a healthy weight. But there are other diseases that are associated with obesity as well. They include: stroke, high blood pressure, some types of cancer, gallbladder disease and gallstones, osteoarthritis, gout and breathing problems such as sleep apnea and asthma. I’m sure most of us would like to avoid any or all of these problems if we can.
Obesity is defined as having a weight that is at least 20 percent more than the maximum healthy weight for your height. An easy way to determine if you are overweight or obese is to calculate your body mass index (BMI). The formula to calculate this is: [weight (in pounds) / height (in inches) squared] x 703 or to use a BMI calculator. (You can find a BMI calculator on Avera’s website.)
Following are the definitions for overweight and obese using the adult BMI measurement:
Underweight: BMI below 18.5
Normal weight: 18.5 – 24.9
Overweight: 25.0 – 29.9
Obese: 30.0 and above
We all want to look good, but we all want to be as healthy as possible, too. So, if you made some resolutions for the New Year about eating and weight, stick with them. Even if you aren’t into resolutions, this can be a great time of year to evaluate your health and make changes to your eating and exercise habits.