Dear Dr. Levister: My family and friends say I’m overweight. What if I think I look fine? My boyfriend says I look great too. How do you determine who is overweight? H.E.
Dear H.E.: Overweight and obesity in adults can be defined using the body mass index (BMI), a tool that measures weight in relation to height. For example a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 refers to a healthy weight, a BMI of 25 to 29.9 refers to overweight, and a BMI of 30 or higher refers to obesity.
For more information about evaluating your body weight visit the Weight-control Information Network (WIN) at http://www.win.niddk.nih.gov. Consider getting a physical check up.
Even if you are considered overweight according to BMI measurements, you may like the size and shape of your body and not feel the need to lose weight. Your boyfriend and friends may think you look great but the health benefits of getting fit and eating well are clear and irrefutable.
Being overweight can be dangerous to your health as you are more likely to develop type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and certain forms of cancer. If you are 200 pounds, losing 10 to 20 pounds may help lower your blood pressure and cholesterol level.
You don’t have to dump the Godiva chocolates and lattes or start running marathons to improve your health. Making small but steady changes in your eating and physical activity habits, overtime, may help you lose weight, if you need to, feel better and improve your health. Slow and steady weight loss of 1/2 to 2 pounds per week is the safest way to lose weight.
If you are overweight or obese and decide to get fit you are taking responsibility for your health. Your boyfriend may want to join you on your journey to better health.
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