Statistics say that almost two-thirds of all U.S. states already have obesity rates that are above 25 percent, with over 12 states having over 30 percent. These numbers are very disturbing, but here’s more alarming news: recent research has revealed that these numbers may actually be underestimated. This means that the obesity epidemic in the United States is much worse than we think!
The Truth About Obesity in the United States
The researchers compared the body mass index (BMI) measurement to body fat percentage of 14,000 participants. BMI gauges weight in relation to height and is widely used to determine if a person is overweight or obese, while body fat percent is simply the percentage of fat your body contains. It is said to be a more accurate method to assess body fat percentage, using the DEXA scan (link).
The researchers found that about half of the women and one-quarter of the men who were not classified as obese (based on the BMI) were considered obese based on body fat. In total, almost 40 percent of participants who were only classified as overweight were actually obese when based on body fat percentage.
Aside from this study, there are also previous studies that claim that a high BMI was associated with a lower risk of death. This is called the “obesity paradox.”
Dr. Joseph Mercola says: “This finding is an example of how BMI is a flawed measurement tool, as it tells you nothing about where fat is located in the body, and it appears that the location of the fat is more important than the amount of fat when it comes to measuring certain health risks, such as heart disease risks.”
He also says that BMI uses weight as a measure of risk, but the truth is that it is actually a high percentage of body fat that determines the obesity of a person.
What is Body Fat Percentage?
Body fat percentage is an accurate tool that many experts now use to measure obesity. You can also determine your state of health using body fat percentage.
For example, too much body fat leads to many chronic health problems like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. At the same time, too little body fat also poses problems because it causes your body to enter a catabolic state, where muscle protein is used as fuel.
To measure your body fat, you need a body fat caliper, an accurate tool that helps measure body fat. This is a lightweight, handheld device that quickly and easily measures the thickness of a fold of your skin, along with its underlying fat layer. You only need to use body fat calipers on three very specific locations on your body to determine the total percent of body fat in your entire body.
“Remember that it is FAR better to monitor your body fat percentage than it is your total weight, as the body fat percentage is what dictates metabolic health or dysfunction — not your total weight,” says Dr. Mercola.
Another Way to Check Your Weight Health: Measure Your Waist
Dr. Mercola also suggests measuring your waist circumference as a simple way to check your weight health. He warns that a thick waist is a well-known sign of visceral fat buildup.
“When your body routinely stores excess visceral fat, you increase your risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, vascular disease, atherosclerosis (hardening of your arteries) and an increased thickness in the walls of your heart,” he warns.
Your waist circumference also indicates insulin sensitivity and helps you determine your risk for diabetes. To get your waist circumference, simply use a tape measure and measure the distance of the smallest area of your abdomen (just below your rib cage, but above your belly button).
Here’s a general guide for a healthy waist circumference:
- Men – Between 37 – 40 inches is overweight and over 40 inches is obese
- Women – Between 31.5 – 34.6 inches is overweight and over 34.6 inches is obese
Other Tips for Health Weight Management
“If you are serious about losing weight, you have to strictly limit the amount of fructose in your diet, as evidence is mounting that excess sugar, and fructose in particular, is the primary factor in the obesity epidemic,” says Dr. Mercola.
To avoid being part of obesity statistics, you should remember the importance of proper nutrition:
- Avoid foods that are filled with fructose and excessive sugar, such as soda, fruit juice, and processed foods. Do not use unhealthy artificial sweeteners like aspartame, Splenda, and agave.
- Restricting carbohydrates like grains, sugar, and fructose from your diet can also help you achieve weight loss. Keep in mind that processed foods like breakfast cereals, waffles, bagels, and pretzels quickly break down to sugar. This increases your insulin levels and causes insulin resistance, the main underlying factor of many chronic diseases and weight gain.
- Replace unhealthy foods with vegetables and healthy fats, which contain simple sugars like glucose. This will help decrease your insulin level and help you avoid insulin resistance. Dr. Mercola advises you to follow his comprehensive nutritional plan if you want to lose weight.
Exercise is also an important part of weight management. Incorporate high-intensity, short-burst-type exercises like Peak Fitness into your routine. Do this two to three times per week.
“If you are struggling with your weight, exercise is clearly one of the key factors that can synergize the effects of healthy food choices and help you reach your short- and long-term weight loss goals,” says Dr. Mercola.