Obesity Therapy
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Metrics


Body mass index (BMI), developed by Belgian anthropometrist Adolphe Quetelet, is a widely accepted scale to measure obesity. Its formula is division of the weight of an obese in kilograms by his height in square metres. Another formula is BMI = weight (lbs.) * 703 / height (inches)2


Body Mass Index

The following values are commonly accepted:

  • A BMI less than 18.5 is underweight
  • A BMI of 18.5 – 24.9 is normal weight
  • A BMI of 25.0 – 29.9 is overweight
  • A BMI of 30.0 – 39.9 is obese
  • A BMI of 40.0 or higher is severely (or morbidly) obese
  • A BMI of 35.0 or higher in the presence of at least one other significant co morbidity is also classified by some bodies as morbid obesity.

To interpret BMI, physicians take into account race, ethnicity, lean mass, age, sex and other similar factors. Although there is no dispute to accept BMI to measure obesity, but it is not accurate in judging body fact of a very muscular person, for example an athlete or the lost mass of an old person. It is also not correct in measuring waist circumference as it does not take into account differing ratios of adipose to lean tissues. BMI also cannot differentiate between separate types of adiposity, which on many occasions relates to cardiovascular danger.

There is an alternative way. Scientists and physicians believe that men with over 25 per cent body fat and women with over 30 per cent body fat are obese. There is, however, difficulty in precisely measuring excessive fat of a person’s body. Experts suggest that the underwater weight of a person could be closer to an accurate answer. But underwater measurement is not generally possible for all the people. It can be conducted in laboratories only.

Another alternative is the skinfold test which is dependable and can be easily conducted. The bioelectrical impedance analysis is also acceptable to doctors because of its easy conductibility in medical clinics. Other types of measurement are computed tomography (CT/CAT scan) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI/NMR) and dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). Measurement of risk factors and diseases associated with overweight can be judged by clinical analysis. Coronary heart problems diabetes type 2 and sleep apnea are common ailments for an obese. These are life-threatening diseases.

Smoking, blood pressure, age and family history can multiply the risk factors for disease. So it is understood that there are several methods to quantify body weight of an obese with each having its advantages and disadvantages. The physicians resort to methods which are commonly practiced and can give accurate figures.

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