Written by: Jonathan Tait, D.O.
Confession. Just 8 years ago I was obese.
Or at least I was according to my BMI, or Body Mass Index. BMI is a commonly used measure to determine whether or not someone is “normal weight”, overweight, or obese.
(FYI: You can calculate your BMI by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared. If you didn’t grown up in Europe, you can multiply your weight in pounds by 703, then divide by your height in inches squared)
Normal weight = BMI 18.5-24.9
Overweight = BMI 25.0 – 29.9
Obese = BMI > 30.0
The confusing part was that I was 5’11”, 180 lbs, had 8% body fat, and was what I thought quite a specimen of health. Yes, picture a strapping, and much younger version of the now older and wiser Dr. Tait patrolling the rehabilitation wards during my residency.
My “obesity” was discovered during a health fair screening by the staff in the community gym that was housed within the hospital where I trained. Clearly, looking at the BMI alone did not paint the entire picture of my state of health. It does a poor job of evaluating body composition, such as how much fat compared to muscle tissue. In my case, I had more muscle mass and therefore more weight relative to my height = BMI > 30 = Obesity.
Health, or lack thereof, cannot be attached to a single data point but often that is what is done in medicine because, well, it is simpler. But, if we focus on BMI we could wrongly determine the skinny couch potato to be healthier than me in my prime.
That is not to say that looking at the BMI is not useful, as higher BMI’s have been shown to have associations with diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. But, the simple measure of normal weight or obesity doesn’t communicate the whole story, or the risk of developing chronic and disabling diseases over time.
The true measure to determine your overall health is to evaluate your entire lifestyle, rather than relying on a single number to predict what may be in store for you if you don’t change your ways. What elements of your current lifestyle may be getting in the way of optimal health and function?
Have a bad knee or back? Structurally that can affect your health score my making you less mobile and possibly less likely to exercise. This can have a negative impact on your function as you lose the ability to move efficiently, potentially straining and stressing other parts of your body.
Metabolically do you feel like an old sputtering version of your former self?
At Rejuv Medical Southwest, my aim is to determine your “health score” by evaluating your structure, function, and the metabolic state (or chemistry) of your body.
The good news for you is that our evidenced-based treatments tune up all three, helping you recapture the former function of your glory days – that is, as long as you are up for a little challenge.
Don’t let another year go by thinking about what you can’t do, or what you will try to change.
Focus instead on a mind-shift (not a mind-set where you might be “set” in your ways) to shift your mind and body to a place where you can and will take back your health and function.
I am here to help you change your total “health score”, not just your BMI, in 2015.
Do not put your goals off another day.
Make an appointment today.
P.S. In the meantime I’m going to get to work on my personal goal of returning to my former “obese” state.