“There is overwhelming evidence that being obese is harmful to one’s health and survival,” said Michael J. Thun, MD, American Cancer Society vice president emeritus of epidemiology. “Approximately one in three Americans age 20 and older is obese. What has been less clear is whether being overweight (BMI 25-29.9) also shortens life. This new analysis finds that being overweight, like being obese, was associated with increased risk of dying from all causes combined.”
More and more Americans are overweight or obese, thanks to bigger food portions; the overabundance of cheap, unhealthy foods; and sedentary lifestyles. About 1 out of 3 American adults is now obese, and another 1 out of 3 is overweight. Even more alarming, 17% of women and 11% of men are severely obese – that is, they have a BMI of 40 or more.
This study shows just how much of an impact excess body weight is having on Americans’ health. Researchers combined data from 19 long-term studies and controlled for factors such as smoking to isolate the relationship between BMI and the risk of death. This analysis was restricted to non-Hispanic white non-smokers aged 19 to 84.
“By combining data on nearly 1.5 million participants from 19 studies we were able to evaluate a wide range of BMI levels and other characteristics that may influence the relationship between excess weight and risk of death,” said Amy Berrington de Gonzalez, National Cancer Institute, lead author of the study. “Smoking and pre-existing illness or disease are strongly associated with the risk of death and with obesity. A paramount aspect of the study was our ability to minimize the impact of these factors by excluding those participants from the analysis.”
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The BMI calculator uses the following weight categories for your BMI score:
Underweight = less than 18.5
Normal weight = 18.5 – 24.9
Overweight = 25.0 – 29.9
Obese = 30.0 or greater
What is BMI
Body Mass Index (BMI) represents an index of body weight in relation to height. While BMI is not a measure of body fat, it is recommended as a more accurate way to assess body fatness than measuring weight alone.
In general, people with BMI in Normal range have the lowest health risks.
However, higher BMI does not always mean that a person has too much fat. Although BMI correlates with body fat level, it is not the perfect tool for evaluating the health risks associated with obesity. For example, athletes may have BMI which is higher than Normal because they have more muscle and thus weigh more than average people. But despite their high BMI, they are fit and in good health.
At the same time, BMI which is lower than Normal is usually associated with either extreme natural leanness or, in a worse case, with malnutrition or even starvation.
What is BMR
The rate at which energy (calories) is used for the essential life functions is called Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). Basal metabolism includes most of the involuntary things the human body does to support life – such as breathing, blood circulation, body temperature regulation, nervous system operations, etc., but not the extra energy needed for any additional physical activity such as gym exercise.
In other words, if you laid in bed all day doing nothing else, then you would need to eat at least the number of calories roughly equal to your BMR in order to maintain your normal body functions.
Basal metabolism consumes from 60 to 70% of body’s total daily calories expenditure.
What is RMR
Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) is equivalent to BMR but is measured under less strict conditions. BMR usually assumes special lab conditions where even the room temperature has to be exact. RMR is the BMR value adjusted for the regular life environment.
RMR values are about 15% higher than the BMR values.
In your diet calculations, you can safely use RMR instead of the scientifically precise BMR.