Maintaining a normal body weight can be a challenge for many people. The medical community has long supported exercise and healthy eating choices to help patients achieve their ideal body weight. Unfortunately, staying healthy and disease free may be more complicated than just achieving a normal body weight. Recent evidence shows that more than half of people who have achieved their ideal body weight according to medically accepted standards may suffer from a condition called normal weight obesity.
How do you know if you have normal weight obesity?
Normal weight obesity applies to those people who have a normal BMI or body mass index but still have a high percentage of body fat. Both BMI and body fat percentages can be measured by various means to determine whether you meet the criteria for normal weight obesity. Body fat percentages of greater than twenty percent in men and thirty percent in women are considered to be diagnostic for this condition.
Why is the issue of normal weight obesity so important?
Studies have shown that people who have a high body fat percentage are at a higher risk of heart disease even if their body weight is normal. They’re also at higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome which increases the risk not only of heart disease but of type 2 diabetes. In fact, normal weight women who met the criteria for normal weight obesity had three times increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome when compared to women with normal weight and a normal body fat percentage. They were also four times more likely to develop heart disease.
Measuring Body Fat Percentages
Body fat percentages can be measured by using a simple set of calipers available from various online sites, although the accuracy of this method has been called into question. There are also special scales that not only give you your body weight but also measure your body fat percentage. These, too, may have varying levels of accuracy. There are other more reliable means of measuring body fat percentages which can be performed at health clubs and by certain medical facilities. In general, if you can pinch more than an inch of fat at the waistline, your body fat percentages are high enough to qualify for normal weight obesity.
Fortunately, many of the risk factors associated with normal weight obesity can be reduced with diet and regular physical activity. A combination of a calorie-reduced diet along with fat burning, aerobic exercise several times a week supplemented by strength training can help to reduce body fat percentages and modify the risks associated with normal weight obesity. Just one more reason to get out those exercise shoes.