To BMI or not to BMI?

Mar 26, 2009
Posted in: Health & Beauty   Posted by: Admin

With Britain still hanging resolutely on to the dubious title of “fattest country in Europe”, the need to spot and tackle weight problems is greater than ever. Yet, despite mass media coverage of the problem, the UK seems to be fighting a losing battle against flab.

The path to a healthy weight is undoubtedly strewn with obstacles, not least the ready availability in the UK of stodgy, unhealthy convenience food. Indeed, even the initial problem of working out who should officially be classed as overweight can prove a stumbling block…

Body Mass Index, or BMI, was once the scientific method favoured around the world for determining whether people were underweight, overweight or clinically obese.

According to WHO guidelines, anyone with a BMI of between 18.5 and 25 had a healthy weight. Anyone whose BMI was less than 18.5 was considered underweight; a measure of between 25 and 30 was overweight; and anything over 30 was classed as obese.

However, health experts now question the value of this measure in accurately identifying people for whom weight is a genuine issue – especially children.

International obesity expert Prof Philip James was one of the first to warn against sole reliance on the body mass index as a measure of whether or not a person is overweight.

He claimed that BMI should be used in combination with waist measurement and pointed out that BMI alone could be misleading, since BMI classed people with a lot of muscle – such as boxer Lennox Lewis, who had a score of 29 – as overweight, thus making the results unreliable.

Amongst all the uncertainty about ideal weights, one thing is for sure: most of us need to be more aware of what we eat, look after our bodies better and
increase our exercise levels.

This could involve anything from attending dance or gym sessions three times a week to spending a few days at a spa – for example, by taking a relaxing weekend break or spa holiday.

If you and your partner are ready to make changes in your lifestyle, spa breaks for couples are a great way to kick-start a health and fitness campaign.

After a weekend break involving two or three glorious pampering days, you’ll feel refreshed, reenergised and (most importantly!) ready to face the tough period of doughnut denial ahead…

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