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Are you Beach-Body Ready?

  • Category: General Health
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Matt Gougler

Although summer is in full swing, most Americans are far from beach-body ready. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than two-thirds (68.8 percent) of U.S. adults are considered to be overweight or obese.

Obesity is far from benign, as it increases the risk of several serious medical conditions, including: coronary heart disease; gallbladder disease; high blood pressure; osteoarthritis; sleep apnea; some cancers (breast, colon, endometrial, kidney, and liver); stroke; and type 2 diabetes.

On the upside, there's no time like the present to be proactive. That's why ATRIO Health Plans is working to increase awareness regarding the importance of adults having a Body Mass Index (BMI) assessment.

What is BMI?

BMI is a simple-to-perform, inexpensive method of determining if an individual is: underweight; a healthy weight; overweight; or obese. Armed with this information, and working in consultation with a healthcare professional, steps can be taken to achieve a healthy weight and thus maximize wellness.

BMI is a weight-to-height ratio that's calculated by dividing a person's weight in kilograms by the square of that individual's height in meters. Although BMI doesn't measure body fat directly, research has validated that BMI outcomes correlate with those derived from more complex techniques, such as skinfold thickness measurements using calipers. As a result, someone with a very high BMI is extremely likely to have a high concentration of body fat. There are, however, exceptions. For example, an athlete may have a high BMI due to well-developed muscles rather than an abundance of body fat.

Adult BMI ranges are reflected in the chart below:

grid a

For purposes of illustration, the chart below has been completed based on the four weight ranges and corresponding BMIs of someone who is 5' 9" tall.

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It's worth noting that BMI is interpreted differently for children and teenagers, even though it is calculated using the same formula as adult BMI. Specifically, youngsters and teen's BMI must be age- and sex-specific. This is because the amount of body fat changes with age, and the amount of body fat differs between girls and boys.

Calculate your BMI

With half of 2017 already in the rearview mirror, now's the time to place high priority on your physical health. Toward that end, calculate your BMI by simply visiting this CDC website. In a matter of seconds, you will know which weight-status category you're in.

If your BMI is not in the "normal or healthy weight" category, schedule an appointment with a healthcare professional who will likely perform further assessments. Based on these results, an individualized weight-loss or weight-gain strategy can be developed; then—when next summer arrives—you can confidently greet the season fully beach-body ready.