What is normal weight obesity?

Most of us judge our health by our appearance.  If we look good in certain outfits and our clothes are still fitting, we consider our weight to be a non-issue.  Some people have maintained the same pant or dress size for most of their lives.  As long as that size stays in the same range, there will be no cause for concern regarding their health and fitness.

However, more than half of adult Americans who are considered to be of normal weight, actually have a high percentage of body fat.  According to the Mayo Clinic, as many as 30 million Americans who are of normal weight, may have the body fat of an obese person.  This high body fat puts adults in jeopardy of getting the same life threatening health risks of a clinically obese individual.  Those health risks include: diabetes, heart disease, High cholesterol, high blood pressure, and metabolic syndrome.

The researchers of the Mayo Clinic determined normal body weight by the use of Body Mass Index or BMI.  The normal body fat percentage of men is somewhere between 18-26% and the normal body fat percentage of women is between 25-32%.  The body fat of male athletes range from 6-13% and female athletes range from 14-20%.  Those individuals with normal BMI who also have a higher than normal body fat percentage would fall into the category of normal weight obesity.

How do you measure body fat?  The methods for measuring body fat range from the primitive and inexpensive to the highly technological and pricey.  Skinfold calipers have been the standard in measuring body fat for many years.  Although the method is not a perfect estimation, it is a good tool for the evaluation of body fat composition.  Dual Energy X-ray absorptiometry or DXA is a newer and much more accurate method for determining body fat composition.  However, this method could be quite expensive.

  ABC.com reports today that doctors are not recommending body fat percentage testing for persons concerned about being normal weight obese.  The waistline may be the key to determining if you are at a normal or healthy weight.  Extra pounds around the mid-section is the most dangerous aspect of being overweight.  The extra fat puts stress and strain on the heart and lungs.  Having extra fat around the waist and love handles puts your health at the greatest risk.

If you are concerned about being obese or normal weight obese, there are ways to jump into action.  In Metro Detroit, the weight loss business is in full swing and there are plenty of options for you to choose from.  Centers such as Medical Weight Loss Clinic focus on a medical approach to weight loss and normalizing body fat.  While facilities such as Curves concentrates on increasing physical activity with both cardio and strength training exercise.  Both offer locations throughout the Metro Detroit area.  Oakland County’s Adventure Boot Camp for Women takes a jump start approach to improving your health with a 4 week outdoor bootcamp that provides nutritional counseling, fitness instruction, and motivational training.  The Boot Camp boasts an expected result of 3-5% body fat loss upon completion.

LaQuanda Randall
Detroit Women’s Health Examiner

Provided by ArmMed Media