Staying healthy is a full-time job and requires you to monitor multiple variables throughout your life. Genetic factors play a big role in your risk for certain diseases, and you should take them seriously because they may help you avoid major health problems.
Lifestyle choices also influence your health. For example, if you choose to smoke or drink alcohol heavily, your body becomes more vulnerable to certain illnesses. Avoiding opportunities to exercise also puts you at risk.
One of the most common and dangerous risks to your health is being overweight. But determining exactly what constitutes obesity was always a bit subjective until the body mass index (BMI) was developed in the 1830s.
This simple formula is still the most objective measure of healthy vs. unhealthy weight today. At New Life Medical in Bakersfield, California, Dr. Nirav Naik uses the BMI calculator as one tool in his arsenal that guides his overall assessment of your health and weight.
The BMI is an instrument that allows Dr. Naik to compare your weight to that of others of the same height and gender. To arrive at your BMI, we use a formula — your weight divided by the square of your height — to arrive at a number. The original math measured weight in kilograms and height in meters, so a few adjustments are made for imperial measurements.
You can check your BMI quickly by using our BMI calculator. Simply enter your height and weight, and the algorithm does the math for you. If you’re outside the normal range, Dr. Naik investigates further. Remember, the BMI is only one of the tools we use; it isn’t a diagnostic test.
In fact, in some cases, the BMI may be misleading because it doesn’t distinguish between muscle and fat. Therefore, a muscular athlete and a sedentary person of the same height and weight may have the same BMI, but one is overweight and one is not. That’s why we don’t rely on BMI alone.
The human body is much too complex to be reduced to a single number, but your BMI lets us know where to look next for possible health problems. Think of it as a warning sign or a notification to be on the lookout for weight-related issues, including:
Being overweight or obese doesn’t doom you to these diseases, but it does make you more likely to suffer from them than folks who are at a healthy weight.
In addition to the number on the scale, your BMI number, and all of the numbers associated with your bodily functions such as your cholesterol or blood pressure levels, there’s one more number that can indicate future health problems: your waist measurement.
When you carry a lot of fat around your midsection, it affects your internal organs, such as your kidneys, heart, and liver. This puts you at risk for metabolic disorders and heart disease.
Eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise — both cardiovascular activity and weight-bearing exercise — can keep your body at a healthy weight. However, life is full of obstacles that can hinder your ability to shed excess pounds. If you need help, Dr. Naik can guide you in finding the safest solution for you.
If Dr. Naik decides that weight-loss surgery is the best approach, he performs several procedures designed to help you lose weight and improve your overall health:
While bariatric surgery is never the first course of treatment, it may be recommended if you have a BMI of 30 or higher and you’re unable to lose weight with diet and exercise alone.
To find out if you’re a candidate for one of these procedures to help get you on the road to better health, schedule a consultation with Dr. Naik. Call us at 661-230-8306 today.