Normal Weight Obesity--What Is It?

Do you know your body fat percentage? Or, do you pay too much attention to your body weight? Its good to know your weight but body fat percentage is much more important as it relates to your health.


You need to know your body fat percentage and not just your body mass index (BMI).

Your body composition (fat mass and muscle mass) is the key to real body transformation. Your BMI would be a good starting point.

Body mass index looks at overall body fat, whereas body composition reveals where you are fat. Belly fat (visceral) is the worst kind of fat and it has been proven to spread toxins into the internal organs which leads to health problems such as heart disease and cancer.

In a study led by Eric J. Jacobs, PhD, American Cancer Society strategic director, Pharmacoepidemiology, researchers examined the association between waist circumference and the risk of death among 48,500 men and 56,343 women age 50 and older who had taken part in the Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort, a subset of the larger Cancer Prevention Study II (CPS-II).

Participants filled out detailed questionnaires about their health and lifestyle, and also measured their waist size with a tape measure. They were then tracked for 9 years.

“We were interested in looking at waist size because it’s strongly correlated to fat tissue in the abdomen, which is the most dangerous kind of fat issue,” said Jacobs.

What The Research Found:

Jacobs and his colleagues found that people with very large waists (47 inches or larger in men, 42 inches or larger in women) had approximately twice the risk of death compared to those with the smallest waists (35 inches in men, 30 inches in women) during the study period.

And, this is the interesting part about the study: it didn't matter if the person was normal weight, overweight or obese (according to body mass index).

“We found a pattern showing that expanding waist size was linked to a greater risk of dying regardless of body weight,” said Jacobs. “Similarly, people with the smallest waist sizes had the lowest risk. The take home message here is watch your waist size regardless of your weight.”

Read the following in this Mayo Clinic article:

1. Yes. You can have a normal weight, but if your body fat percentage is high enough, you may be considered obese — a situation known as normal weight obesity. Normal weight obesity means you may have the same serious health risks as does someone who's obese. Obesity is defined as having an excessive amount of body fat — not as weighing too much.

A formula called body mass index (BMI) is used to determine whether you're at a healthy weight for your height. But BMI doesn't tell the whole story because it doesn't measure body fat. So you may have a normal BMI while your body fat percentage is high enough to increase health risks.

2. Like obesity, normal weight obesity may increase your risk of serious health problems, including:

--Heart disease
--Diabetes
--Abnormal cholesterol level, in which your triglyceride level is high, but your HDL ("good") cholesterol level is low
--High blood pressure
--Metabolic syndrome

Its the same story---eat right, burn fat, lose weight. Download your free book below to get started!

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Mark Dilworth, BA, PES
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About Mark

About Mark

Mark Dilworth is a Lifestyle and Weight Management Specialist and since 2006 he has owned Your Fitness University, Her Fitness Hut, My Fitness Hut, Sports Fitness Hut.

Mark has helped thousands of clients and readers make lifestyle changes that lead to better long-term health, which includes acceptable body fat and ideal body weight.He does not recommend fad diets, quick weight loss gimmicks, starvation diets, weight loss pills, fat burner supplements and the like.

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