Working Out Your Optimum Body Mass

November 12, 2012

Working Out Your Optimum Body Mass

With the world becoming such a health conscious place, many people are curious to know how much they should weigh. Height, sex, age, muscle-fat ratio and bone density are all factors, which must be considered in order to determine this. One method to use is to calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI), which deals with your weight in relation to height. However, this method has its fault as it doesn’t take into account muscle-weight and therefore cannot be used to determine whether or not you are of a healthy weight. In order to work out your BMI you need to divide your weight in kilograms by the square of your height in meters. So for someone with a weight of 80 kg and a height of 1.8 m, the sum will look like this: 1.82 = 3.24 80 / 3.24 = 24.69 24.69 = BMI If you are working with imperial units you need to times your weight in pounds by 703 and then divide it by the square of your height in inches. The sum for someone weighing 190 pounds with a height of 6ft (72 inches) will look like this: 190 x 703 = 133,570 722 = 5184 133,570 / 5184 = 25.76 25.76 = BMI Most health authorities around the world consider a body mass of less than 18.5 to be underweight, a body mass of over 25 to be overweight and a body mass of over 30 to be obese. A BMI of between 18.5 and 25 is considered to be ideal. However, as I said earlier there are many factors that BMI doesn’t take into account including weight, chest and hip measurements, which vary drastically from person to person without making them over weight. Additionally, this scale does not take into account bone density or muscle mass. Medical experts have criticized Body Mass Index by saying that it does not produce a good evaluation of health but rather should only be used as ballpark figures to compare differences in populations.

An alternative way of working out your ideal body mass is by using the waist-hip ratio (WHR). This method gives better predictions of both weight and health risks although it still neglects muscle-fat ratio. WHR requires you to divide the measurement of the circumference of the smallest part of your waist with that of the largest part your hips. The sum for a woman with a waist measuring 28 inches and hips measuring 36 inches is very simple and would look like this:

28 / 36 = 0.77 0.77=WHR

In men a ratio of 0.9 and less has a low risk of cardiovascular health problems. 0.9 to 0.99 has a moderate risk and 1 and over have a high risk of cardiovascular problems. In women it is slightly different as women with a WHR of less than 0.8 are at low risk, 0.8 to 0.89 have a moderate risk and 0.9 or over is considered to be at high risk of cardiovascular problems.

A number of studies have suggested that people with apple-shape figures and high WHR’s have more health risks compared to those with pear-shaped bodies and a lower WHR. Apple shaped figures tend to have more fat building up on their waist where as in pear-shaped figures the fat is on their hips. Women with WHR’s under 0.8 are more fertile and generally healthier and less likely to develop illness’ including cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disorders than those with a higher WHR. The results were similar in a study of men.

Experts have said, however, that the best way estimate fitness levels in by calculating people body fat percentage. Body fat percentage is essential fat + storage fat. Essential fat in women is 2-5% and 10-13% in men. The acceptable total body weight for men is 18-25%, 26-37% in considered overweight and 38% and higher is obese. Women require more body fat so 25-31% is acceptable in women with 32-41% body fat being considered overweight and 42% and higher is obese. You can find out your total body fat percentage with machine used at most doctors practices and good gyms.

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