Don't Throw Away Your Waist!

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BMI, Body Mass Index, is the most commonly used method for classifying individual weight categories related to health risks; however, don't stop there! As depressing as it may be, knowing your waist circumference just may help save your life!

Looking down at what's hanging over your belt can certainly give you an idea, but let's measure it just to be sure. Any tape measure will do. Standing straight up with your feet together, place the tape measure directly on the skin slightly above the belly button and below the bottom of the rib cage. At the end of a normal expiration of air, gently tighten the tape measure and record the results. Repeat this to get two measurements just do double-check your work. A waist circumference of 102 cm (40 inches) or more for men or 88 cm (35 inches) or more for women designates obesity. Why is this important to know? Excess weight can have debilitating effects on our health and increase the risk of developing Type II diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

BMI is a measurement of one's height and weight. Although it is a widely accepted tool used in the health, fitness and medical industries, it is limited. With BMI, one's weight overall is used rather than proportion of fat, muscle, bone, etc. So BMI as a general indication of weight category is certainly useful, but the addition of waist circumference brings it home for the individual. A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight. Obese is considered at a BMI of 30 or greater. Couple that with a waist circumference of over 40 inches (male) or 35 inches (female), and you are placed at a higher risk for health issues. To calculate your BMI, go to

Every method of weight category measure has its limitations and margins of error. However, BMI and waist circumference combined are established and accepted by major national and international health organizations as correlating well with measures of body composition and identifying health risks associated with excess body fat.

Physical activity is always a great way to control weight and manage certain risk factors for chronic disease conditions. Just walking can be a valuable tool to increase your good cholesterol, help lower high blood pressure, improve muscle strength and endurance, and decrease risks for heart disease. Nothing is more proven to benefit our physical body than to move it. Walk it. Push it.

Change begins with awareness. Start with knowing your numbers and keeping track of your lifestyle habits and progress toward healthier living.

Change happens with readiness to act. Readiness for change is entirely up to you. if you force yourself to do something that you aren't committed to, chances are you are not ready to change. Find that motivating factor for yourself.

Change ends with results. Track the changes you have made to see if you are making progress. Make adjustments along the way to reach your desired goal. It's YOUR move!

Corley Roberts, ACSM EP-C, MHA, CPHQ, is an Exercise Physiologist, published author, public speaker, health care professional and founder and CEO of MyFitScript. MyFitScript has been featured on Medscape Inc., CBS Healthwatch, Business and Health Magazine and the American Academy of Family Physicians. Visit for exercise education and programs, or contact Corley at

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Health & Wellness
Corley Roberts, MyFitScript
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