People always ask me how I can lose weight, and I always tell them it is not an easy question to answer. First, we have to know how to determine if you are overweight or not. Most doctors do a simple calculation called Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI is a measure of your weight in relation to your height. BMI of between 18.5 and 25 is ideal. BMI less than 18.5 means you are underweight, BMI between 25 and 30 means you are overweight, and BMI over 30 means you are obese. It is a very easy calculation, so you can do it yourself.

Another method to measure your weight status is the waist-hip ratio (WHR). Divide your waist inches with your hips inches and you will get a ratio number. WHR is linked to risk of cardiovascular health problems. WHR has different standard for males and females. For males, ratio of less than 0.9 indicates low risk of cardiovascular health problems; ratio of 0.9 to 0.99 indicates moderate risk of cardiovascular health problems; ratio of 1 or over indicates high risk of cardiovascular problems. For females, WHR ratio of less than 0.8 indicates low risk of cardiovascular health problems, ratio of 0.8 to 0.89 indicates moderate risk of cardiovascular health problems, and WHR of 0.9 or over indicates high risk of cardiovascular problems.

Recent studies have shown that the waist-to-height ratio is a better indicator for predicting future heart disease and diabetes risk than BMI. If you can keep your waist circumference less than half your height, you can help increase life expectancy.

What is the right way to measure your waist? According to The World Health Organization, you should measure your waist mid-way between the lower rip and the iliac crest (the top of the pelvic bone at the hip).

In the next blog, I will talk about how to lose weight.

©Dr. Li Zhang

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