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Your Best Health: Adult Weight Management

Your Health Risk: Measuring Your BMI and Waist

How do you know if weight is affecting your health?

As you think about how weight affects your life and health, there are physical measurement tools you can use. These include body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference. BMI and waist circumference are used to find out if you’re at increased risk of developing health problems because of your body weight or shape.

Your level of health risk is not based on your BMI or waist circumference alone. Other lifestyle habits such as eating, smoking, physical activity levels and certain medical conditions can also affect health risk. To learn what your health risk level is, you need to have a complete health check with your doctor.

These measurements aren’t for everyone. Adult BMI and waist circumference should not be used for those under 18 or older than 65 years, or pregnant women. The BMI may not be able to predict health risk for adults who aren’t finished growing, very lean or very muscular adults, or certain racial or ethnic groups. If you’re in one of these groups, talk to your healthcare provider about your level of health risk.

The waist circumference is the measurement around your waist in inches or centimetres. It’s a measure of the health risk associated with too much stomach fat. You’re at increased risk of developing health problems such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure if your waist circumference is more than 102 cm (40 inches) for men and 88 cm (35 inches) for women. To learn how to properly measure your waist circumference and to learn what these measurements are, go to Waist Measurement.

Using BMI to assess health risk

The BMI measures the ratio of your weight to your height. To learn more about your BMI, click on the link BMI. If your BMI is 18.5–24.9 your BMI has the lowest risk of you developing health problems.

If your BMI is 25–29.9 your BMI is classified as “overweight”. If your BMI is 30 or above your BMI is classified as “obese”. Both BMI groups may be at increased risk of developing health problems such as: metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, certain cancers, sleep apnea, liver abnormalities, gallbladder disease, painful joints and back, fertility issues, pregnancy complications, depression, and low self-esteem.

Something to think about ...

If you wish to save the blank form or print your answers, refer to the reflection journal.

If you did any of the measurements today, how would you rate your measurements?