Fitness Assessment: Measure Your Fat - Not Weight

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This truly relates to my husband's situation. He gained too much weight when I got pregnant. Now he's in combat with it. I will let him read about the article and let him understand this... "It's Not Your Weight That Matters--It's How Much of Your Weight is Fat". This article really opened my mind. It's true, why should we bother about our weight? WE should worry about the fats in our body as it causes complications which will eventually end our lives so quick. Common fatal illnesses heart disease and developing diabetes, colon cancer, and high blood pressure. To prevent these risky diseases, we have to watch our fat intakes and most especially we have to be physically fit.

Please read the article below as it will give you more idea of what I am talking about.

Press Release:

Fitness Assessment: Measure Your Fat, Not Your Weight
It’s not how much you weigh, it’s how much of your weight is fat.
Simple test determines your fat content, health risks.

Carpinteria, CA – August 20, 2008 - Within the past week, the American Heart Association, Journal of the American Medical Association and the American Cancer Society have cited new studies that seem to indicate the deteriorating health of Americans may not be related solely to weight--but to declining overall fitness levels.

While it is virtually impossible today to remain oblivious to the importance of exercise for staying healthy, there has been a marked emphasis on “weight” versus “fitness” in western society’s perception of health and wellness. Consequently, many people of “normal” weight continue to be uniformed of the fact that they may still be at risk for elevated levels of blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugar if they lead a sedentary (inactive) lifestyle.

It has long been known that there are adverse effects associated with physical inactivity. Adults who are less active are at greater risk of dying of heart disease and developing diabetes, colon cancer, and high blood pressure. Illnesses related to physical inactivity and poor diet cause at least 300,000 deaths each year in the U.S.

Body mass index (BMI), which is calculated through a height-to-weight ratio alone has been the standard method of measuring a person’s “fatness” or “thinness” since 1950’s and 60’s, when obesity was becoming a noticeable medical concern in the U.S. As a result, being at a “normal” BMI weight is not necessarily a reliable indicator of health.

In fact, physically active individuals who have more lean tissue than their sedentary counterparts, as well as taller people, often have a BMI that classifies them as obese when they actually have healthy body fat levels. Likewise, and more dangerous, slender or thin but inactive individuals often have a BMI that puts them within normal, or even underweight, ranges when they actually have high levels of body fat.

Because of the overemphasis on BMI that has developed over the last few decades, these “skinny fat” people often remain unaware that they are at an elevated risk for developing diseases typically associated with obesity until they are already facing health issues.

According to the International Sports Sciences Association, an organization that has educated and certified personal trainers for more than 2 decades, using a quick but reliable method of measuring various body circumferences (e.g. neck, thighs, upper arm, waist, hip) to assess total body fat better determines one’s body composition (fat vs muscle) than BMI alone. Measuring circumferences also provides personal trainers and clients with a very easy way to gauge clients’ progress.

“For people to begin to take a proactive approach to their health, they really need to know what their percentage of fat versus muscle is.” said Dr. Sal Arria, CEO and Co-Founder of the ISSA. Dr. Arria goes on to add, “most studies have shown that by just adding ONE circumference measurement at the waist to BMI, you can better predict a patient’s risk for type 2 diabetes and for all-cause mortality. Waist circumference is also about twice as good at predicting future coronary heart disease than BMI alone.”

The ISSA believes that personal trainers and health clubs should be utilizing circumference measurements as another tool to assess body fat because trainers can achieve proficiency with a few hours of practice and when done properly, the results can be replicated.

Patrick Gamboa, ISSA Vice President of Education, cautions that a person’s true fitness cannot be assessed by body measurements alone. True fitness must also take into account strength, aerobic capacity and flexibility measurements to most accurately predict longevity. Most gyms offer this type of assessment for free to their members.

About the ISSA
Since 1988, the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) has provided certification and continuing education to more than 100,000 wellness professionals in 85 countries around the globe. The ISSA offers a core personal training certification as well as eight additional specialized fitness certifications.

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