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Does Waist Size Really Matter?

When it comes to a healthy weight, it’s easy to spend a lot of time worrying about what your number should be when you step on a scale. How much you weigh and how much fat you have stored on your body are two different things. Weight is only a number of total mass and can be deceptive. For example, bone and muscle weigh more than fat. A female who is 5’4″ tall and weighs145 lbs can actually be in better shape than a female of the same height and weighing 120 Ibs.
How? Because the 145 lb woman may have twice the amount of muscle mass than the 120 lb woman. Equally, due to exercise, the 145 lb woman may have less risk for heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.

What’s a Healthy Weight?

Although nutrition experts still debate the precise limits of what constitutes a healthy weight, there’s a good working definition based on the ratio of weight to height. This ratio is called the body mass index or BMI, for short. Multiple studies have concluded that a body mass index greater than 25 increases the chances of developing heart disease or cancer, and a body mass index above 30 dramatically increases those chances. Generally, a healthy weight is one that is compared to a BMI of less than 25.

Does Waist Size Matter?

Yes, waist size does matter. Some research suggests that not all fat is created equal! Excess fat that accumulates around the waist and chest may actually increase the risk of developing diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, even if one has a BMI of less than 25. It is generally thought excess weight around the hips and thighs is less risky. Normal waist circumference in women is less than 35 inches and for men is less than 40 inches. Anything over this increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

How do I Control My Weight Then?

Weight can be controlled through a proper diet and exercise. Just as weight gain is caused by eating more calories than you burn, the only way to lose weight is to expend more calories than you consume. By following a healthy eating plan and exercising at least 30 minutes 4-6 days per week, you can control your weight. Remember, to vary yoru routines! Include some form of muscle strengthening exercises at least two times per week.
If you are doing the above and finding it difficult to manage your weight, consult with your physician, as there may be another health problem, and consider visiting with a dietitian. Both can assist you in a plan that works for your lifestyle and will help you become the healthiest person you can be.

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