Weight Control/obesity


No matter how you look at it or try to rationalize it, there is nothing healthy about being obese. According to the American Obesity Association, more than 50 percent of African-American women are obese, defined as someone who has body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. You can determine your body mass index by dividing your body weight in pounds by your height in inches squared and multiply by 704.5. For example, if you weigh 190 pounds and are five feet tall (60 inches) your BMI would be 37. In simpler terms, for a woman whose weight is 25 percent more than the maximum desirable for her height, she is considered obese. Men are considered obese when their weight is 20 percent more than the maximum desirable weight.

Causing nearly 300,000 deaths each year, obesity can lead to a variety of medical problems, including diabetes, hypertension, cancer, stroke and heart disease.

But as difficult as it may seem, doctors say, weight loss is possible with exercise and a balanced diet. The key is finding and maintaining a healthy weight, advises MaDonna Grimes, fitness expert and author of Work It Out: The Black Woman's Guide to Getting the Body You Always Wanted. A healthy weight is one in which your blood pressure and cholesterol levels are normal and you're at your optimal health. …

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