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HealthBuzz September 21: 7 Fall Family Activities, Jennifer Aniston’s Smartwater Commercial, and Banana Filled Recipes

Today marks the first day of fall! Before you clock out for the weekend take some time for a healthy dose of news. This week’s HealthBuzz consists of hot headlines from DIR and our partner sites, including Shape, IVillage, and Fitday, as well as some delicious banana recipes from Undressed Skeleton and Thinin10.

Don’t wait until the last day of the week to hear from us! Follow us on Twitter and Pinterest! Also, don’t forget to ‘Like Us’ on Facebook for the chance to win a year’s supply of guacamole from Wholly Guacamole!

Choose the Right Gym For You (So You’ll Actually Use the Membership)

With the fall and holiday season quickly approaching, gyms will be filling up with people wanting to maintain their health and figure for social gatherings and special events. Gyms can be uncomfortable and expensive and there is nothing like wasting money on a membership that you don’t use! Let us help you choose the right gym with this helpful guide.

Seven Fall Activities For the Whole Family

September 21 is the official day of fall! What better way to enjoy the weather then with your family? Stephanie Mansour from Step It Up With Steph shares seven fall activities for the whole family. There is even a healthy recipe for roasted pumpkin seeds! Fall has never been so healthy before.
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Excess Belly Fat May be Just as Dangerous as Smoking

Even if the scale says your weight is in the acceptable range, your belly could be telling a different story. Recent studies have found that those with a normal weight who have excess belly fat are putting the same risk on their lives as those who smoke a pack of cigarettes a day. We were as shocked at the news as you are.

John Cloud recently wrote about this research for Time. Cloud reported on the findings of a 14-year study led by Dr. Francisco Lopez-Jimenez – a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic.

Dr. Lopez-Jimenez concluded that those who have a normal weight but have concentrated “central” or belly fat are more than 50 percent more likely to die earlier from issues like cardiovascular disease and other ailments than those who are obese.

This conclusion was found after researchers followed nearly 13,000 Americans for 14 years. The test subjects were divided up into categories based on their Body Mass Index (BMI) and their waist-to-hip ratios. At the end of the study, approximately 2,500 subjects had died. The analysis of the deceased found that those in the normal BMI/high waist-to-hip ratio group had the highest mortality rate. These mortality risk rates were compared to smokers who smoke nearly one pack of cigarettes a day. These are pretty staggering rates for people who aren’t even overweight.
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The BMI Debate: Is it an Accurate Measure of Health?

As a registered dietitian, I don’t have a problem with the Body Mass Index (BMI.) This is probably because my expectations are entirely in line.

I understand that it is only one of several nutritional status assessment tools. It is an inexpensive and easy way to administer and uncover possible health problems. No screening tool is perfect, however. There are always false negatives and false positives. The BMI was actually designed for population studies, not for diagnosing individuals.

Body Mass Index is a proxy measure of a person’s “degree of adiposity,” or fatness. It is calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared. The concept was devised by scientists in the 1800s, but it did not become an international standard for measuring obesity until the 1980s. In the late 1990s, it received popular attention when the government made it part of healthy eating and exercise initiatives.

For practical use, BMI is displayed as a “BMI chart” with weight on one axis and height on the other. A BMI of 18.5 to 25 corresponds to the “healthy weight” range; BMI less than 18.5 indicates underweight; BMI between 25 – 29.9 is the overweight range. Obesity starts when BMI is 30, and it is considered “extreme” when BMI is 40 or higher.
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Half a Billion Extra People on the Planet: The Result of Global Obesity

This week’s study from the BMC Health Journal found that of the 6 percent world population North America holds, 34 percent of the world’s biomass is found here due to obesity rates. In other words, the United States is number one on the list for heaviest country even though the country’s population makes up a very small percentage of the worlds population. In comparison, Asia holds an impressive 61 percent of the worlds population but only 13 percent of biomass caused by obesity. These differences are not only unbelievable,  but incredible as well and not in a good way).

What all of these complicated numbers and percentages come down to is if every other country had the same percentage of overweight people that America does, it’d be like adding and extra one billion to the worldwide population due to the excess body mass.
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Texas Hospital Restricts Hiring Based on BMI

A hospital in Victoria, Texas is catching some heat for their new hiring policy. The medical center recently announced that they’ll be limiting employment to people with a body mass index (BMI) of less than 35.

Citizens Medical Center will be turning overweight people away if they apply for work in their facilities. The Citizens Medical Center Chief, Dan Brown, explained this controversial decision in a statement.

“The majority of our patients are over 65 and they have expectations that cannot be ignored in terms of personal appearance.” Many argue the validity of Brown’s statement, including attorney John Griffin.

“Patients want people who help them who know what they are doing. They really care very little about their size, their national origin.”
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