Is there one best measurement for health? (April 2016)

During April we asked “Is there one best measurement for health?” BMI, clothing size, body composition, and waist size were explored. So, what is the answer?2016-04_MeasureYourHealth

Well, there is no one answer. Some, or all, of them combined are the best answer. Why is that? Let’s recap…

  • Clothing size – There are no standards. You may be a size 10 at one store, an 8 at another, and a 12 at a third store. To make matters worse, you may wear different sizes within the same clothing manufacturer. What clothing size can tell you is that you have lost weight.
  • BMI – This has been around for a long time. It can be a good guide just to let you know if you are at a healthy weight; however, some people may show as unhealthy because they have more muscle. Also, men and women use the same BMI calculation/chart. So, this is not a stand-alone answer.
  • Waist – While waist may seem like a good measure, we all have different body types. Some people naturally have a larger waistline than others. I do think waistline should be looked at regardless of your body type. It is good to know the size of your waist and where you are at compared to the guidelines of 35″ for women and 40″ for men.
  • Body comp – As my own measurements showed, the same device can give us different measurements because of different conditions. Like BMI and waist, this is good information to have; it just isn’t something we can 100% rely on. Additionally, I have met some people that have naturally low body fat. Just because their body fat is low doesn’t mean they are healthy.

Well, wouldn’t it be nice if we had an easy answer? Yes, of course. Here is something to consider. How do you clothes fit? If you are losing weight, you can tell because your clothes will fit more loosely. If you are maintaining your weight, you can always feel when your clothes get a bit tight.

Don’t ignore any of these. They are all good information to have. Just don’t rely on any one of them alone.

by Michele Spear