With a vast majority of overweight people in the U.S., it’s no surprise that people refer to being overwight as, “more to love” or “well-built”
“being overweight” can mean a few things. Today’s media emphasizes the normal body very distored from real life, often depicting weights not normally achievable by an average american. On top of being dangerously skinny, photos are often edited to show the models thinner than they actually are. It’s easy to see where the bar is set, and give up trying to reach it.
Body Mass Index (BMI): defining “normal”
The BMI scale is the common go-to for assessing if you or someone else is “overweight”. This scale is based on a formula, BMI = (lb)/height2(in2). If that looks complicated, there’s plenty of calculators like this one.
A BMI above 25 is considered overweight and a BMI above 30 is considered obese. Its not just a label though. Having a higher BMI could lead to serious health risks such as heart disease, high blood pressure, trouble breathing or stroke.
Another Measure of Healthy Weight
“There is a rule of thumb for body weight that may be used instead of BMI. For women, ideal weight is 100 pounds for the first five feet of body weight, with approximately 4-7 pounds for every inch over five feet. This results in a BMI between 20 and 23. For men, normal weight is 105 pounds for the first five feet and 5-7 pounds for every inch over five feet, for a BMI between 22 and 25. These are the ideal weights. A man who is 5’ 10” is overweight when he weighs more than 174 pounds. A woman who is 5’ 7” is overweight when she exceeds 159 pounds.” according to John Messmer, MD.
BMI Not Always Accurate
Although it is a widely used scale, there are certain times that the BMI scale isn’t necessarily true. If a man, lets call him Aaron, is 5′ 8″, their max weight without being overweight would be 160 Lbs. Now, if this man enjoys lifting weights, and eating healthy, he may build up enough muscle to weight 185 Lbs. This puts his BMI at 26 instead of 24. Now, is he obese? Of course not. He eats right and just gained more muscle, which weighs more. For people like Aaron, the BMI scale may not be accurate, but there is a Waist-to-Height Ratio (WHtR) that can help determine if he is overweight.
Low BMI Also Unhealthy
Having a BMI that is too low is also unhealthy. A BMI below 23 can cause things like fatigue, low blood sugar, and may be sign of an eating disorder. Models kin the fashion industry often have BMIs that are around 18, which is unrealistic to most of the population. The best plan of action is find a healthy weight, and find a diet that allows you to maintain that weight.