Does Weight Determine Health?
What do you see when you look at these pictures?
Do you think that one of these women is healthy and the other one isn’t?
That is what we are led to believe in this time of looks is everything. Weight is not a very legitimate way to judge a person’s health. While multitude of “diet” and weight control companies want you to believe that to be anything but a “normal” weight means you have to be unhealthy. The disorders associated with weight are diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and the risk of cardiovascular disease.
To know why weight is not a good basis for judging health status we must understand what weight is. Weight is put very simply the measurement of body size. It in no way is able to determine what is going on inside of your body or whether you live a healthy lifestyle. Being heavy doesn’t always correlate with high cholesterol or blood pressure. And lower weights don’t always indicate low blood pressure and low cholesterol.
When researchers compared body weight to cardiovascular risk factors such as cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood glucose, they found that:
Half of the adults in the U.S. (~35.9 million) are classified as “overweight” and are actually metabolically healthy. Additionally, one-third of US adults (~ 19.5 million adults) are classified as obese and are metabolically healthy.
This means that over 50 million individuals currently categorized as “unhealthy” simply based on a flash judgment of their body shape and size, when in reality their cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood glucose are all at healthy levels.
This means that there are 16.3 million adults who are at risk and in need of medical guidance and support that are actually being overlooked, simply because of their smaller body size. Using weight as an indicator of health 1) mislabels millions of individuals as unhealthy and 2) overlooks millions of individuals who are actually metabolically unhealthy and in need of support.
The current emphasis on weight also forces people to fight a battle they simply cannot win. The emerging research reveals that weight is highly influenced by genetics. This evidence sets dieters up for failure, leaves them feeling frustrated and discouraged, while critically reducing their happiness and quality of life. It’s also takes the focus away from the most effective path to good health which is their habits.
It’s not the weight that counts, it’s what you do.
The fact is you can’t directly control your weight, but you can directly control your actions, and there’s nothing is a better predictor of health than your behavior. There is a study that demonstrated that fitness level is a better predictor of health than weight . This study shows that no matter how much you weigh, you can improve your health through life-enhancing habits like regular physical activity, adequate sleep, mitigating stress, cultivating strong and loving connections with friends and family, and eating wholesome, high-quality foods. The best thing about this is that you can start doing all of these health-promoting acts of self-care right now, today regardless of your shape or size.