Which is More Important to Life Span – Weight or Waist?

Health Wellness

Image result for measuring waist

Some sources try to link economic prosperity with the rate of obesity in a nation, and there may be some truth to that, but one also needs to take into consideration that some obesity may be genetic as well.

On the news, we constantly are told that America is the most obese nation in the world, but is that true? According to World Atlas, the United States ranks as the 12th most obese people in the world with 35% of the population being obese. What counties rank higher than the US? Would you believe that 8 of the top 11 are Polynesian/Pacific Island nations with Palau being the most obese people in the world with 47.1% off the population being obese. Another interesting and perhaps surprising statistic is finding that 5 of the top 15 most obese nations are oil rich Middle East counties with Qatar as the most obese of that group, coming in at #6 overall with 41.0% obesity rate.

How is obesity defined? According to Obesity.org, obesity is based upon body mass index (BMI):

“Body Mass Index (BMI) is a mathematical calculation involving height and weight, irrespective of family history, gender, age or race. BMI is calculated by dividing a person’s body weight in kilograms by their height in meters squared (weight [kg] height [m]2) or by using the conversion with pounds (lbs) and inches (in) squared as shown below. This number can be misleading, however, for very muscular people, or for pregnant or lactating women.”

                  [Weight (lbs) ÷ height (in)2  ] x 704.5 =BMI

BMI calculator

The BMI cutoffs are:

Below 18.5                    Underweight
18.5-24.9                      Normal weight
24.5-29.9                      Overweight
30 and greater               Obese
40 and greater               Morbid or extreme obesity  

For example, a person standing 5’5” and weighing 140 pounds would be considered on the upper side of normal. Weighing 150 pounds produces a BMI of 25.0 which breaks the overweight category. Weighing 180 pounds yields a BMI of 30.0 which moves into the obese category.

A person standing 5’10” and weighing 200 pounds has a BMI of 28.7 which makes him overweight. If he weighed 210 pounds, his BMI would be 30.1 and he would be considered obese.

However, these categories only take into consideration one’s weight and not necessarily their bone structure or body size. Some people, like myself, are very heavy boned which tends towards more weight. My wife is very thin boned, which generally leans towards less weight.

But how does weight correspond to waist size, medically speaking? Does it make a difference if your extra weight is equally distributed throughout the body or centrally distributed around the belly?

Perhaps this may answer the questions:

“That spare tire you’re toting around could be increasing your risk of an early death, a new study suggests.”

“What’s more, the increased risk associated with having a larger waistline occurs even if a person’s body-mass index (BMI) indicates a healthy weight, said lead researcher Emmanuel Stamatakis. He’s an associate professor with the University of Sydney in Australia.”

“People who carry extra weight around the middle — also called ‘central obesity’ — but have a normal BMI have a 22 percent higher risk of death than people whose fat is stored elsewhere in their bodies, the study found. In folks with a BMI that indicates obesity, the risk of early death was 13 percent higher for those with central obesity.”

“The study also found that a large gut poses an even greater hazard for heart health. The risk of heart-related death is 25 percent higher for someone with central obesity and a normal BMI. It’s 26 percent greater for those with an overweight BMI and extra abdominal girth, and 56 higher percent for an obese BMI and central obesity, the study found.”

According to this study, it’s not just being overweight or obese that matters, but where on your body that extra weight is carried. If it’s centralized around the middle – you have a definite spare tire or suffer from donlops (it done lop over the belt), then it’s wise to take action to get rid of the belly fat, before it’s too late.

Related Posts