Your BMI Might Make You Think You’re Healthier Than You Are

ADAM DACHIS Your BMI, or Body Mass Index, gives you a number designed to indicate whether you are at a healthy weight or not. According to the health experts over at Examine.com, BMIs tend to provide you with a more flattering look at your situation than reality might otherwise indicate.P BMI (Body Mass Index) is not a highly accurate measure of obesity. That being said, its more complimenting than anything. BMI has a high rate of false negatives (obese people actually being classified as normal or overweight) encroaching on 50% in some studies, particularly among females. The amount of false positives seen with BMI (non-obese persons with enough lean mass to be classified as obese) is surprisingly small; less than 5% in men and 1% in women according to one study.P For those unfamiliar, you calculate your BMI by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared. (If you don't want to do this calculation yourself, just use an online BMI calculator like this one.) False positives likely occur more often in men due to heavier amounts of muscle mass, but regardless 5% is still a very small number. Around 50%, however, is a bit troubling. If you find yourself on the higher end of the BMI range, don't take comfort in such a rating. You might not be quite as healthy as you think, so see a doctor to find out if you need an adjustment in the level of your physical activity and your diet.P How valid is BMI as a measure of health and obesity? | Examine.comP Photo by Jaimie Duplass (Shutterstock). Share this:PrintEmailFacebookTwitterGoogleLike this:Like...

What Makes a Diet Easy to Follow?

Losing weight is never going to be a piece of cake. But obstacles like bland food, a rigid eating schedule, and hours-long meal prep make sticking to a diet—and seeing the number on the scale steadily decline—much less likely. That's why it's smart to look for a plan or approach that's relatively easy to follow. "It's always going to be hard at first, but you're more likely to be able to live with some diets than you are others," says registered dietitian Andrea Giancoli, who serves on U.S. News'sBest Diets panel of experts in nutrition and diet. "You don't want something that's immediately setting you up for failure." U.S. News's Best Diets 2013 includes eight sets of rankings, including Easiest Diets to Follow. The rankings rely on our expert panel's ratings of 29 popular diets from 5 (best) to 1 (worst) depending on how much difficulty the judges thought dieters would have in getting used to a diet, how much taste appeal they felt it would offer, how full they believed it would make dieters feel, and how many rules would have to be obeyed. The experts put Weight Watchers at the top of the Easiest to Follow standings. They liked that it's flexible, tasty, and allows for plenty of eating throughout the day—nothing is off limits, and there's no need for dieters to go hungry. Weight Watchers was followed by Jenny Craig, the Flexitarian diet, theMediterranean diet, Slim-Fast, and Volumetrics. Here's a behind-the-curtains look at what the experts were asked to consider. They apply to any diet, not just the 29 we ranked. Initial adjustment. One day you're living on pasta, white bread, chicken wings, and potato chips. The next,...

Test Shows Subconscious ‘Stop Signs’ Can Help Control Overeating

Once you pop the top of a tube of potato chips, it can be hard to stop munching its contents. But Cornell University researchers may have found a novel way to help: edible serving-size markers that act as subconscious stop signs. As part of an experiment carried out on two groups of college students (98 students total) while they were watching video clips in class, researchers from Cornell's Food and Brand Lab served tubes potato chips, some of which contained chips dyed red. Researchers found that the red chips served as subconscious "stop signs" that curtailed the amount of food consumed. In the first study, the red chips were interspersed at intervals designating one suggested serving size (seven chips) or two serving sizes (14 chips); in the second study, this was changed to five and 10 chips. Unaware of why some of the chips were red, the students who were served those tubes ate 50 percent less than their peers. "People generally eat what is put in front of them if it is palatable," said Cornell Food and Brand Lab director Brian Wansink. "An increasing amount of research suggests that some people use visual indications such as a clean plate or bottom of a bowl to tell them when to stop eating." Source Share this:PrintEmailFacebookTwitterGoogleLike this:Like...

Normal Weight Doctors Discuss Weight Loss With Patients More Often Than Overweight Colleagues

A national cross-sectional survey of 500 primary care physicians in the US finds their weight may influence obesity diagnosis and care. Among the findings, published earlier this month in the journal Obesity, is the suggestion that doctors whose BMI is in the normal weight range are more likely to to discuss weight loss with patients than overweight or obese colleagues. Lead author, Dr Sara Bleich, an assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told the press their findings also suggest that normal weight physicians "have greater confidence in their ability to provide diet and exercise counseling and perceive their weight loss advice as trustworthy when compared to overweight or obese physicians". For their survey, Bleich and colleagues assessed the impact of physician BMI on obesity care, their confidence in their ability to give advice on diet and exercise, perceptions of role modeling and perceptions of patient trust in weight loss advice. All the data came from questionnaires that the doctors completed themselves. BMI, or body mass index, is the ratio of a person's weight in kilos to their square of their height in metres. They classed doctors who reported themselves as having a BMI of 25 kg/m2 or over as overweight or obese, and under that to be of normal weight. When they analyzed the results, the researchers found that: Physicians who reported having normal BMI were more likely to discuss weight loss with their obese patients than physicians who reported having BMI in the overweight or obese range (30% versus 18%, P=0.010).   Physicians with normal BMI had more confidence in their...

Regular Chocolate Consumption Linked To Leaner Bodies

People who eat chocolate regularly tend to be thinner than those who never or very rarely consume chocolate, researchers from the University of California, San Diego, reported in Archives of Internal Medicine. The authors added that some kinds of chocolate had previously been found to improve factors related to metabolism, including insulin sensitivity, blood pressure, as well ascholesterol levels. Because of the high-calorie values of most chocolates, many people avoid them in their attempts to control their body weight. Beatrice A. Golomb, M.D., Ph.D., and team gathered data on 1,018 adults, both male and female. None of them had any known chronic diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or unfavorable LDL-C (bad cholesterol) levels - they were all screened for overall health when the study began. The volunteers were given questionnaires which included questions about their weekly chocolate consumption rates. 975 of them completed the chocolate-related questions. 972 of them had their body mass indexes (BMIs) measured. The authors noted: "Adults who consumed chocolate more frequently had a lower BMI than those who consumed chocolate less often." The volunteers' average as was 57 years. Among the males (making up 68% of total participants), their average BMI was 28. Their chocolate consumption was, on average, twice weekly. The males exercised 3.6 times weekly. Despite being leaner than non-chocolate eaters (or those who rarely ate chocolate), the authors found that regular chocolate eaters consumed more calories, including higher amounts of saturated fat. They had already factored out certain variables which could have affected their findings, such as people's age, gender, how physically active they were, etc. Regular chocolate consumption linked to leaner bodies How often chocolate was...
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