Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of death.
You would have to be blind or deaf not to be aware of the obesity and diabetes epidemic that is occurring in this country. More than one-third of U.S. adults (35.7%) are obese. No state has met the nation’s Healthy People 2010 goal to lower obesity prevalence to 15%. The number of states with an obesity prevalence of 30% or more has increased to 12 states in 2010. In 2009, nine states had obesity rates of 30% or more. In 2000, no state had an obesity prevalence of 30% or more. The maps demonstrate the striking change in obesity rates over the past 20 years.
The standard measurement to determine if someone is obese is BMI, or body mass index, which is an approximation of body fat based on height and weight. It is a poor way to measure body fat compared to FMI, or fat mass index, because BMI assumes that everyone of a certain height should be within the same weight range. Unlike BMI, FMI is a gender-specific measure of excess fat not confounded by lean tissue.
Dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) body composition measurements are the most accurate tools for assessing body fat and are increasingly utilized in the evaluation of clinical obesity, muscle loss and wasting (sarcopenia), and abnormal patterns of fat distribution (lipodystrophy). Obesity is widely recognized as a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular disease. Sarcopenia has been shown to be highly predictive of functional disability in the elderly, and lipodystrophy is a major complication of antiretroviral treatments. In addition to detecting abnormalities in body composition, DXA is also employed to evaluate the effects of diet and exercise in health clinics, and physical training in athletes and military recruits.
We advise our clients that before starting any sort of training/nutrition program that they obtain a real “snapshot” of where they are in terms of body composition: fat, muscle, and bone mass. Additional “snapshots” can be captured during the program to help provide direction and, after a duration, for example, 6 months, to gauge overall progress.