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Weight or Waist ?

Weight or Waist ?
Weight or Waist ?

Dr. Shillingford’s weight loss surgery practice in South Florida oversees the care of clinically obese patients for surgical treatment of their conditions. Much in the same way that the place in Florida they call home varies between Miami, Daytona Beach, Naples, and Jacksonville so does their level of obesity. Patients range from obese to morbidly obese and suffer from a variety of obesity related diseases. For many years one of the most widely used measurements documented by doctors to determine health has been weight. This basic measurement is so widely used that it is one of the determining factors insurance companies look at when determining coverage for a patient for surgical treatment of obesity.

Today, laymen and medical professionals agree that although Body Mass Index (BMI) is a good predictor of healthy weight based on height, it is not infallible. BMI does not account for location of weight, or what parts of the body are adding the weight. For example, men and women of color, on average, can have a higher BMI of 2 points because of denser bones and muscles.

It is now thought that waist circumference is actually a better indicator of health than BMI. High waist circumference means more fat close to your heart, so fat from those cells is more likely to deposit on this and other delicate organs. Waist circumference is also less affected by bone density and muscle mass, so measurements are closer to your amount of excess weight.

Why does this matter? Because it is healthy for us to gain muscle mass and lose fat, but the scale cannot tell you which you are losing. Having a separate measure will keep you motivated and let you know you are still making progress, even when the scale says nothing is changing.

If you are measuring your waist circumference, make sure you are doing it correctly. No fancy tools are needed, just a body measuring tape. Find your belly-button, using it as a landmark. Wrap the tape around your body, making sure to keep it level to the ground and not let it slant up your back and over estimate the measurements. Do not wrap it too tight, or it will measure too low (like when you suck in your belly to put on a tight pair of pants). It should be as tight as a piece of tape placed lightly on your skin.

Now that you can measure your waist circumference, what is a healthy waist circumference? If you are a man, it is less than 40 inches, but 35 inches if you are a woman. However, if that ideal number is very far away, you can still benefit from smaller drops in waist circumference. Losing 2.5 inches off your waist is enough to drop your risk for heart disease and death by 10%. The message here is that small steps matter!

Dr. Shillingford is a South Florida board certified surgeon who specializes in bariatric or weight loss surgery including the Sleeve Gastrectomy (Gastric Sleeve), Gastric Bypass, and Lap-Band procedures. His Florida patients travel from as far as Miami, Daytona Beach, Naples, and Jacksonville. To learn more about Dr. Shillingford’s integrative weight loss surgeries and all-inclusive fees please call his office in Boca Raton, Florida at (561) 483-8840.