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Black Women And Obesity
And Accurate BMI Chart Measurements

December 06, 2010

Black Women And Obesity

Overcoming High Blood Pressure brings you the latest addition in the relationship between Black Women And Obesity as it relates to the measurements of the BMI Charts.

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You need to look at BMI, body fat percentage and waist circumference.
Madelyn Fernstrom, PH.D.

Black Women, Obesity and the BMI Chart

Most black women's natural physique do not fall within what is considered normal. I have always felt that doctors do not take this into consideration when treating us.

The National Institutes of Health's BMI charts, which doctors use to evaluate individuals, do not address people whose dense muscles mass is mistakenly assessed as excess fat.

This dense muscle mass looks unhealthy on paper.

So what are we to do.

Body mass index (BMI) is an indicator of obesity or underweight, calculated by dividing your weight by the square of you height

BMI charts states that a reading of 30 or higher signifies obesity.

How To Calculate Your BMI

Pounds And Inches

Formula: weight (lb) / [height (in)]2 x 703

Calculate BMI by dividing weight in pounds (lbs) by height in inches (in) squared and multiplying by a conversion factor of 703.

Example: Weight = 150 lbs, Height = 5'5" (65") Calculation: [150 (65)2] x 703 = 24.96

Kilograms and Meters

Formula: weight (kg) / [height (m)]2

With the metric system, the formula for BMI is weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared. Since height is commonly measured in centimeters, divide height in centimeters by 100 to obtain height in meters.

Example: Weight = 68 kg, Height = 165 cm (1.65 m) Calculation: 68 (1.65)2 = 24.98

BMI was developed to calculate obesity of the Caucasian populations, because at that time there were no good data on racial and ethnic minorities. But now research on minorities have begun and it turns out that BMI measurements is not a one fit all.

What Makes Black Women Different

Studies have proven that Black women have about 2% less body fat than white women of the same height and weight.

Because BMI formula is based on your height and weight and not our ethnicity, black women may be leaner than we think.

That's significant.

So while defining white women's BMI at 30 is accurate, based on body fat, a black woman is not obese until her BMI reaches 32.

The reason for this is black women tend to have denser, heavier bones and muscles that increases our BMI.

This does not gives us a pass to over eat or be over weight.

The Bottom Line

You should not ignore your BMI, but concentrate on your waist circumference which should be measured at below 35 inches.

Belly fat is linked to heart disease, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes.

African American are at a higher risk of high blood pressure and obesity with women increasingly being diagnosed.

So make sure your body fat is low and your waist measure is below 35 because this gets you out of the danger zone and could save your life. Conclusion

Your comments are always welcomed.

So see you next month for more ways to lower your blood pressure.

Donna M

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