Weight-for-height tables & Special diet plans (fad diets and popular diets)

What about weight-for-height tables?

Measuring a person’s body fat percentage can be difficult, so other methods are often relied upon to diagnose obesity. Two widely used methods are weight-for-height tables and body mass index (BMI). While both measurements have their limitations, they are reasonable indicators that someone may have a weight problem. The calculations are easy, and no special equipment is required.WEIGHT LOSS frutMost people are familiar with weight-for-height tables. Doctors and nurses (and many others) have used these tables for decades to determine if someone is overweight. The tables usually have a range of acceptable weights for a person of a given height.

One small problem with using weight-for-height tables is that doctors disagree over which is the best table to use. Several versions are available. Many have different weight ranges, and some tables account for a person’s frame size, age and sex, while other tables do not.

A significant limitation of all weight-for-height tables is that they do not distinguish between excess fat and muscle. A very muscular person may be classified as obese, according to the tables, when he or she in fact is not.

What is the body mass index (BMI)?

The body mass index (BMI) is a now the measurement of choice for many physicians and researchers studying obesity.

The BMI uses a mathematical formula that accounts for both a person’s weight and height. The BMI equals a person’s weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared (BMI=kg/m2).

The BMI measurement, however, poses some of the same problems as the weight-for-height tables. Not everyone agrees on the cutoff points for “healthy” versus “unhealthy” BMI ranges. BMI also does not provide information on a person’s percentage of body fat. However, like the weight-for-height table, BMI is a useful general guideline and is a good estimator of body fat for most adults 19 and 70 years of age. However, it may not be an accurate measurement of body fat for body builders, certain athletes, and pregnant women.

It is important to understand what “healthy weight” means. Healthy weight is defined as a body mass index (BMI) equal to or greater than 19 and less than 25 among all people aged 20 or over. Generally, obesity is defined as a body mass index (BMI) equal to or greater than 30, which approximates 30 pounds of excess weight. Excess weight also places people at risk of developing serious health problems.

The World Health Organization uses a classification system using the BMI to define overweight and obesity.

       A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is defined as a “Pre-obese.”

       A BMI of 30 to 34.99 is defined as “Obese class I.”

       A BMI of 35 to 39.99 is defined as “Obese class II.”

       A BMI of or greater than 40.00 is defined as “Obese class III.”

The table below has already done the math and metric conversions. To use the table, find the appropriate height in the left-hand column. Move across the row to the given weight. The number at the top of the column is the BMI for that height and weight.

 

BMI
(kg/m2)

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

28

29

30

35

40

Height
(in.)

Weight (lb.)

58

91

96

100

105

110

115

119

124

129

134

138

143

167

191

59

94

99

104

109

114

119

124

128

133

138

143

148

173

198

60

97

102

107

112

118

123

128

133

138

143

148

153

179

204

61

100

106

111

116

122

127

132

137

143

148

153

158

185

211

62

104

109

115

120

126

131

136

142

147

153

158

164

191

218

63

107

113

118

124

130

135

141

146

152

158

163

169

197

225

64

110

116

122

128

134

140

145

151

157

163

169

174

204

232

65

114

120

126

132

138

144

150

156

162

168

174

180

210

240

66

118

124

130

136

142

148

155

161

167

173

179

186

216

247

67

121

127

134

140

146

153

159

166

172

178

185

191

223

255

68

125

131

138

144

151

158

164

171

177

184

190

197

230

262

69

128

135

142

149

155

162

169

176

182

189

196

203

236

270

70

132

139

146

153

160

167

174

181

188

195

202

207

243

278

71

136

143

150

157

165

172

179

186

193

200

208

215

250

286

72

140

147

154

162

169

177

184

191

199

206

213

221

258

294

73

144

151

159

166

174

182

189

197

204

212

219

227

265

302

74

148

155

163

171

179

186

194

202

210

218

225

233

272

311

75

152

160

168

176

184

192

200

208

216

224

232

240

279

319

76

156

164

172

180

189

197

205

213

221

230

238

246

287

328

Table Courtesy of the National Institutes of Health

Below is a table identifying the risk of associated disease according to BMI and waist size.

Disease Risk* Relative to Normal Weight and Waist Circumference

 

 

BMI (kg/m2)

Obesity Class

Men 102cm (40 in) or less
Women 88cm (35 in) or less

Men > 102cm (40 in)
Women > 88cm (35 in)

Underweight

< 18.5

 

 

 

Normal weight

18.5 – 24.9

 

 

 

Overweight

25.0 – 29.9

 

Increased

High

Obesity

30.0 – 34.9

I

High

Very High

Obesity

35.0 – 39.9

II

Very High

Very High

Extreme Obesity

40.0 +

III

Extremely High

Extremely High

* Disease risk for type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and CVD.

+ Increased waist circumference can also be a marker for increased risk even in persons of normal weight

What about special diet plans (fad diets and popular diets)?

Many people prefer to have a set of rules to follow when dieting. Others may crave the emotional support from attending counseling sessions or meetings. Diet products, books, and services have become a billion-dollar industry, so there are obviously many people looking for help with weight control. Before you jump on the latest diet bandwagon, remember that organized diet plans and programs can only result in weight loss if you burn more calories than you consume. No dietary supplements, exercise devices, combinations of foods, or specific patterns of eating will change this fact.

Some examples of popular diet plans include the Atkins diet, The South Beach Diet, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Body for Life, Dr. Andrew Weil’s diet plan, and the Ornish diet. All of these diets have their proponents, and all of them have been successful for some people. Because eating habits and preferences vary widely among individuals, before you decide on a diet plan, ask yourself if the plan sounds realistic to you. If the plan involves rigorous measuring of portions and calorie counting, are you up to the task? If you’re forbidden to eat certain foods, will you develop cravings for them? Do you feel that you will feel comfortable adhering to the diet guidelines? Will the diet’s requirements fit easily into your daily schedule? Finally, consider that once you’ve lost the weight, you may regain the weight if you return to your previous eating habits, so any weight-loss plan should be something you can live with for a long time. For more on comparing diet plans, please read the Comparing Popular Weight Loss Diets article.

Remember that the most successful weight loss comes from dietary changes and healthy food choices that will stay with you over time, not from diets that leave you feeling deprived or result in binge-eating episodes.

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