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Sunday, April 24, 2011

O2 HEALTH > Am I overweight?

by Dr. Damigo; PhD

In U.S and Europe, being overweight is the norm — but it's not normal... two-thirds of all Americans need to lose weight

Excess adipose tissue around a male's mid-section.


Excess body fat raises levels of LDL ("bad") cholesterol and triglycerides while also lowering HDL ("good") cholesterol levels. Obesity impairs the body's responsiveness to insulin, raising blood sugar and insulin levels. But obesity does more than produce bad numbers: it also leads to bad health, increasing the risk of heart attack, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, gallstones, cancer, osteoarthritis, obstructive sleep apnea, fatty liver, and depression. All in all, obesity is a killer; in fact, obesity and lack of exercise are responsible for about 1,000 American deaths each day, and if present trends continue, they will soon overtake smoking as the leading preventable causes of death in the U.S.
Obesity affects men and women about equally. But you may be surprised to learn that men bear a particular burden, since obesity takes a special toll on male hormones, sexuality, and prostate health.

And if that's not bad enough, it also increases the risk of male maladies, ranging from erectile dysfunction to BPH and prostate cancer.
A look in the mirror can give you a clue, but to find out if your weight puts you at risk for genitourinary disorders, you need a more precise assessment.
At present, the gold standard is the body mass index, or BMI. You can calculate your BMI by multiplying your weight in pounds by 703 and then dividing by your height in inches squared or by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared. Or, if you're like most of us, you can skip the math and use an online calculator (www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi).

The BMI gives a reasonable estimate of overall body fat. A BMI between 25 and 30 puts you in the overweight category, while a reading of 30 or more says you're obese. But the BMI doesn't tell you how your fat is distributed. Scientists know that while no excess body fat is good, abdominal fat is the most harmful variety. So to find out if you are at risk, simply measure your waist at your navel; for men, risk begins to rise at waist circumferences above 37.5 inches, and troubles mount over 40 inches.

It's hard to shed excess pounds, but it is possible. There is no quick fix, but there is a slow fix: adjust your diet to take in fewer calories and ramp up your exercise to burn off more calories.
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