During your yearly routine medical checkup your physician may evaluate your body mass index (BMI) or your height to weight ratio. The Body mass index is a traditional measurement that divides a person’s weight by their height to find out whether they have a healthy weight. When evaluating a large population of people this can be a useful tool however, it’s usefulness when evaluating an individual is questionable. For example, a body builder may have a very high BMI measuring him or her as obese when in fact, that person has very low body fat. The reverse of that can also be true; a person may be very thin but have a very high percent of body fat. This person would have a normal, or low BMI, however, a low body mass index can be very misleading and he or she may be at high risk for diabetes and heart disease.
A Study conducted by the Mayo Clinic in 2008 found that more than half of American adults with a normal BMI (<25) body fat percentages that were too high. An increasing number of studies are finding body mass index to be a poor indicator of cardiometabolic health. The percent of body fat and the distribution of fat are better indicators of overall health and provide more information regarding the risk of insulin resistance, high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer.
Results from a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey were published in April 2018 in BMJ. The study, conducted between 1999–2006, by the National Center for Health Statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed people, with a normal BMI but high body fat, are more prone to prediabetes or diabetes when compared to people diagnosed as obese based on their BMI score, but who have a lower body fat percentage.
Researchers used guidelines issued by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and the American College of Endocrinology to categorize the body fat of participants. According to these guidelines, body fat of 25 percent and above is considered high for men, and 35 percent and above is considered high for women. Using these guidelines, researchers found 13.5 percent of people with a normal BMI and a high body fat percentage had prediabetes or diabetes, compared to 10.5 percent of people diagnosed as overweight based on their BMI but who had low body fat.
The percentage of body fat is important but knowing the type of body fat you have is also critical. Subcutaneous fat lies directly under your skin while visceral fat is the unseen fat around your organs and cannot be removed by liposuction. Even people who appear to be healthy and fit could be carrying around visceral fat which is linked to diabetes and heart disease. Visceral fat the produces inflammatory cytokines, increases insulin resistance and reduces sex hormone levels.
The experts at the Anti-Aging and Wellness Clinic can help you obtain an accurate measurement of your body fat percentage. A body fat composition of 30% or less is considered healthy for women, but for optimal fitness, women should aim for 24% or lower. A body composition of 20% or less in healthy for men, but for optimal fitness, men should aim for 17% or less. Knowing your current level of body fat composition can help educate and motivate you.
At the Anti-Aging and Wellness Clinic we will help you optimize your health. Our mission is to develop a customized health program that will enable you to achieve your peak physical and mental performance. We want to help educate and empower you to take charge of your health allowing you to live a longer, healthier, more active and productive life.
The Anti-Aging and Wellness Clinic, Central America’s most experienced Age Management Clinic combines the most advanced technology, proven methods of preventative medicine, and patient education to slow down the aging process and fight age-related disease. Contact us today to learn more.
Diabetes and endocrinology. Informational value of percent body fat with body mass index for the risk of abnormal blood glucose: a nationally representative cross-sectional study. Ara Jo Arch G Mainous III,BMJ Open 2018; 8 – Published Online First: 13 Apr 2018. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-019200