This is how staggering the rise of obesity has become: according to the Surgeon General’s office, the number of obese or overweight adults in this country is 50% higher than it was just a decade ago. Recent studies have projected that 1/3 of the children born in 2000 will develop Type 2 Diabetes, which was once commonly referred to as adult-onset diabetes and is primarily driven by excessive weight. And perhaps most unsettling of all: over the last ten years the number of deaths directly related to obesity-inspired diseased has increased by 33%.
Obesity contributes to diabetes, heart disease, and strokes. Diabetes leads to an increased risk of heart disease, blindness, limb amputation, and kidney problems. The close relationship between excessive weight and diabetes is undeniable. Which is why it’s so important for those who are either pre-diabetes or have been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes to monitor their body mass index.
What is your body mass index (BMI)? It’s an easily calculated number which tells you the percentage of your of body weight that consists of fat. Although this number is not 100% on-the-money perfect, especially when the calculation is based solely on height and weight, it’s a good ball park figure. Certainly good enough to use as a guide if you’re trying to lose weight. Other factors that are normally taken into consideration are sex and age.
The most accurate way to determine your body mass index is by working with your doctor. Not only can he offer you some additional insights into the meaning of the number, he can advise you on how best to start losing weight.
However, if you’d like to get a quick peek at where you fall in the BMI scale, there are a number of online calculators you can use. The quickest path to a calculator is by doing a search for the term “BMI” or “body mass index.” Either will do. But if you’re in even more of a hurry, can try one of these:
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: http://nhlbisupport.com/bmi/
Centers For Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/bmi/index.htm
After you’ve determined your BMI number, you’ll want to know what it means. As a rough guideline for adults a BMI of less than 20 implies underweight, over 25 is overweight, and over 30 is obese. For a more specific idea of where you fall in the index, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute provides a complete Body Mass Index Table for your convenience. You can find it here: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/obesity/bmi_tbl.htm
The bottom line: if you’re overweight, you’re in danger of developing diabetes. This dreadful disease is nearly silent, yet it can cause kidney failure, heart damage, strokes, even the loss of limbs to amputation. This is why it’s so important to keep a close eye on your weight and particularly your body mass index.
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David Silva is not only the webmaster of Diabetes Base, he’s a diabetic.