Posts Tagged ‘race’

Downey Fact Sheet 5 – Measuring Obesity – The Body Mass Index

September 27th, 2009

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How do we know if one is overweight or obese?

There are several methods, but the one most frequently used by researchers and physicians is the Body Mass Index or BMI. The BMI is a mathematical formula involving dividing one’s weight (in kilograms) by one’s height in meters squared. The resulting number is one’s BMI. Thanks to the Internet, there are now a lot of calculators to do the math for us. This is just one of them. Calculate your BMI – Standard BMI Calculator . As you can see from the formula, the BMI is not adjusted for age, gender or other health status. It is meant to be a proxy for excess adipose tissue in the body. It does a pretty good job of that when studying a whole population or a subgroup. At the personal level, it may not be as good an indicator of excess adipose tissue. Waist circumference is sometimes used as an additional assessment of risk because it measures central adiposity, which is more likely to predict the risk for co-morbid conditions. (Generally, one BMI unit is equal to about 5 pounds.)

More sophisticated tools are sometimes used including hydrostatic weighing and DEXA which uses bioelectrical impedance to determine body composition.

The other problem with the BMI has to do with the cut-off points. In other words, what is the range for normal, overweight, obese and morbid obesity. Much research goes into evaluating what are the appropriate cutoffs. The studies are not always very clear…except for the fact that, at some point, increasing weight by any measurement means increased risk for comorbid conditions (See Health Effects) of mortality (See Obesity A to Z). A discussion of the needs for changes in BMI usage in the elderly is reported at An evidence-based assessment of federal guidelines…[Arch Intern Med. 2001] – PubMed Result

BMI may tell us a lot about populations but you might be interested in how your weight compares with others your age, race or gender. See: Average height and weight charts, men and women .

For many years, Americans were familiar with the Metropolitan Life Insurance Weight tables Height & Weight Tables. These tables are often used with patients considering bariatric surgery. Many surgeons discuss weight loss not in terms of BMI units but in terms of Excess Weight or one’s current weight minus the Metropolitan Life ‘ideal weight.’ Excess Weight Loss or EWL, then, becomes the standard to look at weight loss following bariatric surgery.ASMBS – Rationale for Surgery

The search for an improved BMI continues but it is well validated and continues to be used worldwide.

Read more: Pathophysiology of obesity. [Proc Nutr Soc. 2000] – PubMed Result

BMI Calculator Go to Calculate your BMI – Standard BMI Calculator

Background on US BMI criteria: Criteria for definition of overweight in transition: background and recommendations for the United States — Kuczmarski and Flegal 72 (5): 1074 — American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Comparisons of percentage body fat, body mass inde…[Am J Clin Nutr. 2009] – PubMed Result

How does your weight compare to others of same race, gender and age? See:Average height and weight charts, men and women

Weight Bias

September 26th, 2009

It is difficult to find any area of obesity untouched by issues of bias and discrimination.Is obesity stigmatizing? Body weight, perceived di…[J Health Soc Behav. 2005] – PubMed Result Perhaps the stigmatization associated with obesity is as great as for any human condition. Not only does stigmatization take a terrible toll on individuals’ life in society but it directly affects the health care they do, or do not, receive. The Yale Rudd Center on Food Policy and Obesity is the leading academic center focused on weight bias and discrimination. Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity — Home. MD

Weight bias is increasing in the United States without any legal or societal restraints. Changes in perceived weight discrimination among A…[Obesity (Silver Spring). 2008] – PubMed Result

Overweight and obese report stigmatizing encounters across a variety of settings but ones involving personal relationships seem hardest to take. Weight stigmatization and bias reduction: perspect…[Health Educ Res. 2008] – PubMed Result

Weight stigmatization may result in high rates of depression in severe or morbidly obese patients. Depressed mood in class III obesity predicted by w…[Obes Surg. 2007] – PubMed Result

Weight Bias

Weight Discrimination compared to race and gender discrimination

Origins of Weight Bias and ways to reduce bias

Childhood stigmatization see,

Stigmatization of obese children and adolescents, …[Obes Rev. 2008] – PubMed Result

No change in weight-based teasing when school-base…[Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2008] – PubMed Result

Associations of weight-based teasing and emotional…[Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2003] – PubMed Result

Weight-teasing among adolescents: correlations wit…[Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2002] – PubMed Result

Racial/ethnic differences in weight-related teasin…[Obesity (Silver Spring). 2008] – PubMed Result

Effect on provision of health care

Undertreatment of obese women undergoing cancer therapy: Arch Intern Med — Abstract: Undertreatment of Obese Women Receiving Breast Cancer Chemotherapy, June 13, 2005, Griggs et al. 165 (11): 1267

Weight Bias in Health Care Settings,