Normal-weight Obesity

I read an interesting article in The Wall Street Journal (Jan 26, 2010) titled "The Scales Can Lie: Hidden Fat." It talks about a Mayo Clinic study which says your weight  can be okay, but you can still have life-threatening obesity. I chuckled a bit over the illustration, which shows three young attractive women, with one supposedly representing a person with a normal body-mass index (BMI) but still obese, and two others with lower percentages of body fat. There was no clearcut difference between them. I think, if they didn't need to sell papers, they could have chosen different models.

The concept itself makes sense to me, although other experts noted this study needs to be repeated to become generally accepted. The authors say as many as 30 million Americans may fit this category and be unaware of their increased risk for heart disease (among other problems). There are apparently scales coming out that can measure your body fat percentage as well as your weight and some health clubs are doing this currently.

I think it's easier than that. I go into the men's locker room at our health club and see lots of guys with well-developed muscles, especially upper body muscles, but considerable rolls around the mid-section. Last June, when I started my own diet again, I was in that group (the ones with belly fat, although I didn't have anywhere near their big muscles).

One day that month I had tried on a pair of really nice suit pants, ones I had purchased (on sale) in 1988, and had to suck in my gut to put them on. That was also the day I looked at a BMI chart and realized I was borderline overweight. My weight hadn't changed more than three pounds in nearly twenty years; its distribution clearly had.

This morning I'm twenty-nine pounds lighter, have a waistline that's at least four inches less and can't "pinch an inch" at my flanks, not even a quarter of an inch. I didn't need to buy a fancy scale or have an expensive body fat measurement done.

I was at my men's book club yesterday and watched everyone eat homemade sweet rolls. Some of the guys were relatively slender, some showed signs of normal weight obesity. I decided to skip the sweet rolls.

One Response to “Normal-weight Obesity”

  1. Kaye Abad says:

    Obesity is a growing health problem these days because people are too lazy to do some extra exercise and they eat too much. i always exercise and do cardio regularly to maintain a healthy weight.

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