Keep it Real TV Episode 37

Video by Dr. Chad Larson

In episode 37 of his video series, Dr. Larson discusses: 

  • For better health outcomes a new definition of obesity would serve Americans better
  • Phil Maffetone a leading researcher in Public Health recently released new data in the journal Frontiers of Public Health discussing the limitation of the current definition of obesity
  • His research suggests that a more inclusive definition of obesity is needed to limit risk factors and to increase awareness about body fat versus just what someone weighs
  • Your BMI is your weight divided by your height and then that number is squared
  • Currently, anyone's who BMI is between 25-29 is considered "overweight" and anyone with a BMI over 30 is considered "obese"
  • The BMI measurement stems from WHO or the World Health Organization
  • What Maffetone found is that when you broad the definition to include body fat as a measurement instead of just weight, as many as 95% of men and 81% of women in the US are currently obese
  • The reason why the definition needs to be changed is that there are people who are obese but are not overweight
  • When you use weight as an indicator what you are measuring is the amount of water in the body, which does not have that much to do with how much body fat a person has
  • It is important to use body fat because it is as good of a predictor of health and disease as being overweight especially for cardiometabolic diseases
  • Cardiometabolic diseases are things like diabetes, heart disease and cancer which plaque American society
  • There are many types of obesity
  • Normal weight obesity is where someone is not overweight but they have too much fat in their body, like abdominal fat
  • There is also something called sarcopenic obesity which is a combination of low muscle mass and low muscle strength due to a low level of physical activity
  • The reason that it is important to broaden the definition of obesity is that it carries with it the same risk factors that being overweight does
  • There are all sorts of fancy and highly accurate ways to measure body fat
  • If you want to measure your body fat at home you can measure your waist circumference around your belly button
  • Studies suggest that when a woman's waist measurement is more than 31.5 inches her risk of chronic disease goes up and anything over 35 is considered obese
  • For men, risks start to increase if your waist measurement is more than 37 inches and anything over 40 is considered obese, regardless of weight
  • Your waist to height measurement is also a good measure of your body fat
  • When you measure your waist it should be less than half of your height, if it is more than you are considered obese even if your BMI is less than 30
  • You should test monthly to ensure that your body fat stays within healthy range
  • If your waist is more than half of the measurement of your body the best way to decrease your body fat is to slowly eliminate refined carbohydrates from your diet
  • Refined carbohydrates are things that contain flour like pasta, breads, chips, cookies and junk food
  • If you want to lose body fat also eliminate sugar
  • To make your body burn fat quicker use the 180 formula
  • The 180 formula means that you take 180 and subtract your age
  • Take that number and plus or minus ten depending on any injuries you have or your physical fitness state currently
  • The number you are left with is where you should raise your heart rate during exercise to burn fat
  • If you raise your heart rate within range to that number for 45-60 minutes a day you can increase your aerobic strength which will reduce your sugar cravings and help your metabolism increases to burn fat quicker
  • That will help to decrease your weight and your waist circumference to within healthy range and decrease your overall risk for chronic illnesses and disease


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