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What the doc doesn't say: You're overweight

THE M.D.

October 12, 2009|Valerie Ulene

Divide your weight in pounds by that number.

Multiply that by 703.

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Or you could let the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute's website do the work for you at www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi.

Standard weight categories are based on BMI measurements:

* Underweight = BMI less than 18.5

* Normal weight = 18.5-24.9

* Overweight = 25-29.9

* Obese = 30 and above

Though the BMI provides important information, the institute strongly believes that waist circumference -- a measure of abdominal fat -- should be considered too. A high waist circumference is associated with an increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, particularly in people who fall into the "overweight" category.

Waist circumference is not the same thing as waist size. To accurately measure waist circumference, place a tape measure around the abdomen at the level of the iliac crest, the uppermost point of the hip bone. The tape measure should be snug but not tight, and the measurement should be made at the end of a normal expiration.

Women who fall into the "overweight" category based on their BMI and have a waist circumference of more than 35 inches are considered to be at high risk of developing weight-related disease; overweight men fall into this high-risk category when their waist circumference exceeds 40 inches.

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Valerie Ulene

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