Marsh column: Do you wonder what your weight should be?
I went online and found a zillion charts for weight requirements, anywhere from the police force charts to doctor’s and sports charts. The chart shown goes by height and weight and frame. Scary when you look at your height and weight right? As we know our societies obesity has risen tremendously. Fortunately the government and private sectors are finally realizing this and there are funds and grants available for programs to help fight this horrible epidemic.
So what do you think you should weigh? Did you check the chart? Are you close? Most people are not. Does that mean you are overweight? It doesn’t have to be. As I have mentioned in a previous column, my preferred “weight check” is height, weight, circumference and body fat. Someone who is muscular can weigh a lot due to the muscles. Even be considered obese looking at some of the charts which just go by height and weight (such as the one shown and BMI charts = Body Mass Index) The circumference is a pretty good check, especially the waist hip ratio.
To measure your hip to waist ratio is to use a measuring tape and take the smaller section of your natural waist. It’s usually located right at or just above your belly button. Stand relaxed and do not pull tape tight and breathe! For the hip your measurement should be taken at the hips on the widest part of your buttocks. Now divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement. A healthy waist to hip ratio for women is 0.8 or lower and for men 1.0 or lower. Ratios above that are associated with obesity and seem to have a greater risk for health issues and diseases.
When I was at the doctors the last time they actually took my waist to hip ratio. It’s a quick and cheap way to get a pretty good picture. Are you a lot above 0.8 and 1.0? If you are, what are you going to do now? Well, it’s not going to happen on its own and definitely not overnight! As I mentioned before, it is hard work, its going to take time. Get a plan, get help, and get support. But first make sure that you know what you are willing to do for your health and weight loss. It’s going to be a lifestyle change. Did you see that your weight and/or waist/ hip ratio is “off the chart”…. are you willing to make the necessary changes? With baby steps and help it can be done!
Ester H Marsh, ACSM Cpt