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Body Mass Index and diabetes

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Talk about scary statistics: The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that about one-third of all Americans are obese. Even worse: The American Diabetes Association asserts that more than 8 percent of the total population has diabetes, while another 79 million people (or about a quarter of the entire US population) suffers from pre-diabetes.

Think these numbers are connected? You bet they are. Research has proven that excess weight is one of the strongest risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes. How do you know if you're carrying a few extra pounds and putting yourself at risk? By figuring out your body mass index, or BMI.

What is body mass index?

Simply put, body mass index is a number based on height and weight that can give a reliable indicator body fat. According to information from the CDC, BMI is often used to screen individuals for their risk for health problems. For adults, BMI standards are the same regardless of age or gender. If you have a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9, your weight is considered healthy. BMI numbers between 25 and 29.9 are considered overweight, while obesity is defined as a BMI of 30 or higher.

How is BMI calculated?

Your BMI is calculated using a complex formula that takes both height and weight into consideration. If you measure your weight and height in pounds and inches, you'd follow the following equation to determine your BMI: weight / [height] 2 x 703 = BMI. So if you weigh 150 pounds and you're 5-feet, 5-inches tall (65 inches total), your formula would look like this: [150 ÷ (65)2] x 703 and your BMI would be 24.96.

Why is obesity troubling?

Obesity has been linked to a number of serious health concerns including type 2 diabetes, stroke, and some kinds of cancer, gallbladder disease, sleep apnea and depression. If you've already been diagnosed with diabetes, reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is one of the most important things you can do to help manage your condition. According to the CDC, maintaining a BMI under 25 can help individuals with diabetes dramatically reduce their risk of diabetes-related complications, including kidney failure, heart disease and stroke, blindness, and amputations of legs and feet.

Reaching and maintain a healthy BMI is one of the best things you can do to help control your diabetes. Talking to a physician or care team can help patients make informed decisions about weight loss goals.

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