Preventive care is a component of wellness and serves as a mechanism to utilize healthcare services and screenings to help prevent or avoid the onset of chronic disease (e.g., cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc.) or to counsel and screen for certain health conditions. These conditions may affect:
- adults (colorectal cancer, obesity, sexually transmitted disease),
- men (prostate cancer, alcohol misuse, aortic aneurysm),
- women (contraception, mammography cervical and vaginal cancer) and
- children (obesity, depression, developmental and behavioral screenings).
Preventive services are benefits offered by all health insurers regardless of whether they are private or Federal. As with any health insurance benefit, coverage will vary by insurer and certain limitations may apply.
- Private insurers (e.g., Aetna, UnitedHealthcare, Cigna, etc.) offer preventive care services; however, check with your insurer to determine their covered service offerings and requirements.
- Medicare offers preventive care services to its Part B beneficiaries including screenings for depression, diabetes, glaucoma and more. http://www.medicare.gov/coverage/preventive-and-screening-services.html
- The Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare, ensures that all Americans have health insurance and offers several preventive care services for its marketplace customers. https://www.healthcare.gov/preventive-care-benefits/adults/
Preventive care can be managed by individuals on their own (e.g., physical activity, nutritional management, smoking cessation, reduced alcohol consumption, etc.) as well as in conjunction with help from the healthcare community. As Benjamin Franklin said “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
By helping to offset or avoid disease through prevention, healthcare costs can also be contained and/or reduced for an aging population. Particularly for conditions that may be preventable.
Whether your motivation is to stop smoking, offset cancer or the risk of a chronic disease, to identify services to benefit aging parents, to avoid childhood obesity, or to simply age gracefully, preventive health services and screenings may be worth investigating for you and your loved ones.
It tastes so good! Its why we often crave salty snacks. Its one of the reasons we love to eat out because of the perfectly balanced flavor in restaurant foods. Yet we all know that too much sodium is unhealthy. Too much sodium leads to excess fluid build up in our bodies which may, over time, affect vital organs including our hearts and kidneys.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 recommend limiting sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg per day. The recommendation decreases to 1,500 mg per day if you are African-American, have hypertension, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, or are an adult age 51 or older. Children also need to reduce their sodium intake since 9 out of 10 children eat more sodium than recommended.
Kosher, Himalayan, and flake salts are all the rage but don’t forget that salt is salt. Here is a quick guide that outlines the differences in table and specialty salts: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/food-guides/salt
Regardless of the type of salt you prefer, look for some healthy alternatives to help reduce daily sodium intake for you and your family. Consider the following:
- Read the nutrition label on products to see the amount of sodium per serving
- Use fresh or dried herbs (e.g., thyme, oregano, basil, sage, tarragon, etc.) and spices (e.g., smoked paprika, cumin, Harissa, cayenne, Zaatar, etc.) to flavor foods when cooking
- Make your own salt-free seasoning blend
- Buy the single serve bag of potato chips or popcorn to limit sodium intake
- Make your own potato or veggie chips so that you control the sodium content
- Do not add extra salt to prepared meals
- Limit sodium rich condiments (e.g., ketchup, commercial salad dressing, soy sauce, etc.)
- Limit or avoid processed meats and those that are smoked or cured which are notoriously high in sodium
- Look for reduced sodium, low-salt or no-salt canned foods
- Eat more fresh foods
- Reduce, or eliminate, the amount of salt when preparing a favorite recipe or when trying a new recipe
- Investigate healthful ways to reduce sodium intake for your kids http://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/children-sodium/infographic.html
- Check with your doctor before using commercially prepared salt substitutes if you have heart issues. Some salt substitutes contain potassium chloride which may be of concern to individuals with certain health conditions.
Thanksgiving is fast approaching! Work is busy, especially if you’re preparing to take a few days off to spend with family. The grocery store lines are getting longer as everyone is shopping for turkey, sweet potatoes, cranberries and other yummy goodies. You’re worried whether you’ll have enough time to get the house clean enough to pass the Mom inspection, concerned whether the new stuffing recipe is going to turn out ok, or wondering if your flight will be on schedule.
Whew! While most of us love the hustle and bustle of the holidays we also recognize how stressful they can be. It’s time to take a little break to unwind with a few simple techniques.
- Let the Kid Inside Come Out. Pull out some gummy worms, Smarties® or chew some Bubblicious/Bubble Yum. Play with your kids, little cousins, or the nephews and nieces.
- Enjoy Aromatherapy & Essential Oils. Use a few drops of essential oils to help calm you down and lift the stress by enhancing your sense of smell. Essential oils are the natural chemicals extracted from plants, flowers, etc. They contain natural vitamins, antioxidants and offer healthy benefits to relax, calm, sooth and refresh the body and mind. Scents like lavender, rose, vanilla and sandalwood help melt stress away. Add to an aromatherapy diffuser, your bath, or mix with a carrier oil (e.g., Jojoba Oil, Almond Oil, Vitamin E Oil, etc.) if applying as a body oil. Add a few drops of peppermint, lemon or pink grapefruit oil into your household cleaner for a crisp, fresh scent.
- Break for Tea Time. Make yourself a cup of hot tea using seasonal tea blends containing ginger, cinnamon, orange, cranberry, nutmeg, or pumpkin spice. Serve it in a proper tea-cup with saucer then sip slowly as you savor the aroma, warmth and taste. The day after Thanksgiving host a Thanksgiving Tea Party for the special ladies in your life—your Mom, sisters, daughters, Aunties, Grandmothers, cousins, nieces— and serve turkey sliders using leftover turkey and cranberry sauce, cranberry scones or pumpkin bread (or some of that leftover pumpkin or sweet potato pie) with a nice salad or veggie tray.
- Speak Good Thoughts. Change your perspective by speaking positively “I know I’ll get everything taken care of” instead of speaking negatively “I’ll never get everything done”.
- Journal It. Instead of having a million little lists scattered here and there of what you need to do, journal it all in one place. Whether you do it on paper, on your tablet, or using a notepad app on your cell keep your list consolidated where you can easily find what you need to do. Make sure your list includes allowing adequate time to allow a frozen turkey to defrost!
- Get Organized. I’m a planner and I love to do whatever I can ahead of time so I’m not so rushed and stressed at the last-minute on Thanksgiving Day. To start, I usually make two shopping trips: the first is about two weeks before Thanksgiving where I shop for the nonperishable items (e.g., spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, brown sugar, flour, baking powder, yeast, stuffing cubes, etc.) and even a few perishables that I know won’t spoil like fresh cranberries, oranges, sweet potatoes and fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme and sage. My second grocery trip is for the perishables (e.g., fresh vegetables, salad greens, turkey, etc.). I also like to pre-chop the veggies (i.e., onion, bell pepper, celery) for my stuffing a few days ahead and store the pre-chopped veggies in the fridge. A week or two before Thanksgiving I clean out my fridge to make way for the turkey and all the fixings. A week before I always identify the tablecloth or table runner I’m going to use, along with the casserole and serving dishes, then I set my table and include the casserole and serving dishes. When hosting family, place fresh bed linens on their beds and make sure fresh towels and soap are in the guest bath. If traveling, try to pack a few days ahead rather than waiting for the night before your flight.
- Tabletop Treats. If you want to try a tabletop arrangement this year, keep it small and simple. Pick a theme and stick with it. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Don’t feel the stress of having to go out and purchase new items such as table linens, special plates, new silverware, special serving dishes and utensils, etc. Use what you have.
- Tune it Out. Sign in to Pandora and crank up the volume on the Bose or Beats and let the music sooth you. If you’re flying, plug in your ear buds, sit back and enjoy.
- Unwind. Do something to relax and unwind your body, including getting sound sleep. Stretch it out with yoga or Pilates. Go for a walk. Kickbox or do some strength training.
- Be Nice to You. The temps are dropping which means skin is beginning to get drier. Moisturize like crazy! Protect your skin with extra special attention to hands, heels, and elbows.
Adult fitness challenge, Aerobic fitness, CrossFit, fitness test, Flexibility, Marine Corps Fitness Test, Muscular fitness, Physical fitness, The Marine Corps Fitness Test, The President's Fitness Challenge, Youth Fitness, Youth fitness challenge
You’ve been busy huffing and puffing as you run, bike, walk, play tennis, etc. You sweat. You stretch. You go to bed early and you get up the next day to start the cycle over again.
Thanksgiving is fast approaching and we are all trying to figure out how to enjoy time spent with loved ones as we eat the good stuff, try not overindulge or add unwanted pounds all with a goal of keeping whatever it is we do for fitness somewhat on track.
Do you ever wonder how fit you really are? You personally. Along with your family.
I recently decided to see if my committment to steady exercise was paying off. It takes me a long time to lose numbers on the scale. I personally don’t always see it as pounds lost but I do see it in other areas such as endurance, tone, clothing fitting more loosely.
I often get frustrated because the pounds just don’t come off quickly (or maybe I’m too impatient!). So, I took The President’s Fitness Challenge. Specifically, I wanted to challenge myself, learn my baseline and identify areas where I need to improve. The President’s Fitness Challenge offers two versions: adult and youth fitness.
The President’s Fitness Challenge – The Adult Challenge
The Adult Challenge measures and evaluates four areas of health-related fitness:
- Aerobic fitness—the ability of your heart and lungs to deliver blood to muscles
- Muscular strength and endurance—whether you are strong enough to do normal activities easily and protect your lower back
- Flexibility—the ability to move your joints through their proper range of motion
- Body composition—whether you have too much body fat, especially around the waist
Try testing yourself in all four areas. If after reading the test instructions that feels like too much then start with one or two areas and see how you do. Take the Adult Fitness Test here: https://www.adultfitnesstest.org/
If you or a loved one are concerned or not sure if you’re healthy enough to perform the fitness test, click here: https://www.adultfitnesstest.org/riskQuestionaire.php
To find out more about the President’s Fitness Challenge – Adult Challenge: https://www.presidentschallenge.org/challenge/adult.shtml
The President’s Fitness Challenge – The Youth Fitness Challenge
Measures the physical fitness of youth and teens. To find out more about the Presidential Youth Fitness Program: https://www.presidentschallenge.org/challenge/pyfp.shtml
Take the Youth Fitness Challenge here: http://www.pyfp.org/
Other tests that can be used to measure and evaluate your current fitness level include:
The Marine Corps Fitness Test. This test assesses pull-ups, push-ups and running for males and females age 17 and up.
I’m too scared to try this one. Maybe you’ll tell me how you did if you took the Marine Corps Fitness Test!
CrossFit offers a fitness test that measures bench press, clean and jerk, Tabata squat and deadlift. And of course there is always the workout of the day (WOD).
Take the challenge here: http://library.crossfit.com/free/pdf/08_03_How_Fit_Are_You.pdf
Your Next Steps
Set aside some uninterrupted time. Determine the test you want to try (or you want your kids to try). Challenge yourself as you complete the various assessments for the fitness test. Record your performance. Determine areas where you need to improve. Continue (and/or modify) your existing exercise training routine.
When you feel ready, test yourself again (set a retest goal: 3 months, 6 months, next Thanksgiving, your next birthday, etc.). Compare your findings to your prior fitness test(s) to see if improvements have been made. Adjust accordingly and try again.
Take a quick 5-10 minute break to relax. Of course you can use the old faithful of taking in a few slow deep breaths to calm the mind and body.
Here are five additional ways to sneak in some quick relaxation to maintain your joy whether at home or at work.
1. Stare out the window. Yes, you read that correctly. Whether you are at the office, at home or sitting in traffic, take a few minutes to stop and stare out the window. Take the time to observe the beauty of God’s creation. Look at the different colors in the sky. The texture of the trees and the size of their trunks, the shape of the leaves they bear or the height and breadth of the tree. Observe how the flowers move and bend with a breeze or how the fall leaves tumble and fly in the wind.
2. Savor a hot beverage. You may wonder how that is relaxing. We love our coffee, lattes, tea, chai but sometimes we drink it down too fast or we set it aside and it becomes too cold so we toss it. Purchase or prepare your favorite hot beverage, then sit and just be still for a few minutes as you sip it. Let the warmth roll around in your mouth and really take the time to taste and savor it.
3. Massage your hands. All that typing and texting takes a toll and can leave our hands and forearms tense and tight. Take a few minutes to give yourself a quick hand massage. I like to apply lotion and, using the thumb of my opposite hand, begin by working in a circular motion from the fleshy area below the thumb through the palm of my hand and up through each finger tip. Repeat on the other hand. After you’ve massaged both hands, shake it out. Then I clasp my hands and twist them first to the left and then to the right, for about 5-10 seconds each, to help release any tension in my wrists and forearms.
4. Smile. Everyone knows the neck and shoulders are tension hot spots but I think many people would be quite surprised by how much tension we hold in our jaw, temples and face. Smile big and pretty then hold it for 20-30 seconds. Did you feel the tension release?
5. Seek the sun. Sit outside for 5-10 minutes. The warmth of the sun offers a wonderfully easy way to cheer our spirits and lift our mood while promoting vitamin D production. Plus those rays absorbed during the day will also help you sleep better at night because they help regulate our circadian rhythm.
What quick and easy things do you do to relax?
If you are looking for a way to reduce or eliminate the intake of unhealthy foods in your diet then adopting a plant-based lifestyle may be worth considering. Research has shown that increasing the intake of fruits and vegetables aids in achieving optimal health and longevity whether your goal is to maintain health or lose weight.
I have followed Joel Fuhrman, MD for several years by reading many of his books, beginning with the classic Eat to Live. His advice, along with that of other wellness advocates in the medical community (e.g., Andrew Weil, MD, Neal Barnard, MD, etc.), is extremely beneficial and helpful in understanding the physiology of human dietary behavior. While Dr. Fuhrman believes a plant-based dietary approach is optimal, meat eaters and meat lovers can easily adopt this approach by cutting back on the amount of their meat intake or limiting meat intake to fish and chicken.
Over the years I have adopted many of Dr. Fuhrman’s dietary recommendations. I am not vegan and still eat meat….I’ve just cut back. I have adopted a GBOMB lifestyle although I have never been a fan of mushrooms (I prefer to substitute artichokes instead). The End of Dieting, his latest book, which I will be purchasing, was published in March 2014.
We already know the no no’s – ditch the junk, put aside the soda, say no to the white stuff. In our efforts to move toward a healthier lifestyle, we have all read articles emphasizing the benefits of increased dietary fruit and vegetable intake (I personally don’t believe that comes from folks adding a few greens along with 5-6, or more, fruits to make a single serving smoothie!).
Consider Dr. Furhman’s recommended approach if you desire to make a conscious move toward eating clean or if you simply want to up your clean eating game.
Dr. Fuhrman provides an excellent and concise summary of the nutritional benefits of a plant-based lifestyle (https://www.drfuhrman.com/library/gbombs.aspx):
G-BOMBS: Greens, Beans, Onions, Mushrooms, Berries, and Seeds
“G-BOMBS” is an acronym you can use to remember the most nutrient-dense, health-promoting foods on the planet. These are the foods you should eat every day, and they should make up a significant proportion of your diet – these foods are extremely effective at preventing chronic disease and promoting health and longevity.
G – Greens Raw leafy greens contain only about 100 calories per pound, and are packed with nutrients. Leafy greens contain substances that protect blood vessels, and are associated with reduced risk of diabetes.1-3Greens are an excellent tool for weight loss, since they can be consumed in virtually unlimited quantities. Leafy greens are also the most nutrient-dense of all foods, but unfortunately are only consumed in minuscule amounts in a typical American diet. We should follow the example of our closest living relatives – chimpanzees and gorillas – who consume tens of pounds of green leaves every day. The majority of calories in green vegetables, including leafy greens, come from protein, and this plant protein is packaged with beneficial phytochemicals: Green vegetables are rich in folate (the natural form of folic acid), calcium, and contain small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Leafy greens are also rich in antioxidant pigments called carotenoids, specifically lutein and zeaxanthin, which are the carotenoids known to promote healthy vision.4 Also, several leafy greens and other green vegetables (such as bok choy, broccoli, and kale) belong to the cruciferous family of vegetables.
All vegetables contain protective micronutrients and phytochemicals, but cruciferous vegetables have a unique chemical composition – they contain glucosinolates, and when their cell walls are broken by blending, chopping, or chewing, a chemical reaction converts glucosinolates to isothiocyanates (ITCs) – compounds with a variety of potent anti-cancer effects. Because different ITCs can work in different locations in the cell and on different molecules, they can have combined additive effects, working synergistically to remove carcinogens, reduce inflammation, neutralize oxidative stress, inhibit angiogenesis (the process by which tumors acquire a blood supply), and kill cancer cells.5
B – Beans Beans (and other legumes as well) are a powerhouse of superior nutrition, and the most nutrient-dense carbohydrate source. They act as an anti-diabetes and weight-loss food because they are digested slowly, having a stabilizing effect on blood sugar, which promotes satiety and helps to prevent food cravings. Plus they contain soluble fiber, which lowers cholesterol levels.6 Beans are unique foods because of their very high levels of fiber and resistant starch, carbohydrates that are not broken down by digestive enzymes. Fiber and resistant starch not only reduce total the number of calories absorbed from beans, but are also fermented by intestinal bacteria into fatty acids that help to prevent colon cancer.7 Eating beans, peas, or lentils at least twice a week has been found to decrease colon cancer risk by 50%.8 Legume intake also provides significant protection against oral, larynx, pharynx, stomach, and kidney cancers.9
O – Onions Onions, along with leeks, garlic, shallots, and scallions, make up the Allium family of vegetables, which have beneficial effects on the cardiovascular and immune systems, as well as anti-diabetic and anti-cancer effects. Allium vegetables are known for their characteristic organosulfur compounds, Similar to the ITCs in cruciferous vegetables, organosulfur compounds are released when onions are chopped, crushed, or chewed. Epidemiological studies have found that increased consumption of Allium vegetables is associated with lower risk of gastric and prostate cancers. These compounds prevent the development of cancers by detoxifying carcinogens, halting cancer cell growth, and blocking angiogenesis.10 Onions also contain high concentrations of health-promoting flavonoid antioxidants, predominantly quercetin, and red onions also contain at least 25 different anthocyanins.11,12 Quercetin slows tumor development, suppresses growth and proliferation and induces cell death in colon cancer cells.13,14,15 Flavonoids also have anti-inflammatory effects that may contribute to cancer prevention.16
M – Mushrooms Consuming mushrooms regularly is associated with decreased risk of breast, stomach, and colorectal cancers. In one recent Chinese study, women who ate at least 10 grams of fresh mushrooms each day (about one mushroom per day) had a 64% decreased risk of breast cancer. Even more dramatic protection was gained by women who ate 10 grams of mushrooms and drank green tea daily – an 89% decrease in risk for premenopausal women, and 82% for postmenopausal women.17-20White, cremini, Portobello, oyster, shiitake, maitake, and reishi mushrooms all have anti-cancer properties – some are anti-inflammatory, stimulate the immune system, prevent DNA damage, slow cancer cell growth, cause programmed cancer cell death, and inhibit angiogenesis. In addition to these properties, mushrooms are unique in that they contain aromatase inhibitors – compounds that can block the production of estrogen. These compounds are thought to be largely responsible for the preventive effects of mushrooms against breast cancer – in fact, there are aromatase-inhibiting drugs on the market that are used to treat breast cancer. Regular consumption of dietary aromatase inhibitors is an excellent strategy for prevention, and it turns out that even the most commonly eaten mushrooms (white, cremini, and Portobello) have a high anti-aromatase activity.21 Keep in mind that mushrooms should only be eaten cooked: several raw culinary mushrooms contain a potentially carcinogenic substance called agaritine, and cooking mushrooms significantly reduces their agaritine content.22,23
B – Berries Blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries are true super foods. Naturally sweet and juicy, berries are low in sugar and high in nutrients – they are among the best foods you can eat. Their vibrant colors mean that they are full of antioxidants, including flavonoids and antioxidant vitamins – berries are some of the highest antioxidant foods in existence. Berries’ plentiful antioxidant content confers both cardioprotective and anti-cancer effects, such as reducing blood pressure, reducing inflammation, preventing DNA damage, inhibiting tumor angiogenesis, and stimulating of the body’s own antioxidant enzymes. Berry consumption has been linked to reduced risk of diabetes, cancers and cognitive decline.24-29 Berries are an excellent food for the brain – berry consumption improves both motor coordination and memory.30,31
S – Seeds Nuts and seeds contain healthy fats and are rich in a spectrum of micronutrients including phytosterols, minerals, and antioxidants. Countless studies have demonstrated the cardiovascular benefits of nuts, and including nuts in the diet aids in weight maintenance and diabetes prevention.32-35 The nutritional profiles of seeds are similar to nuts when it comes to healthy fats, minerals, and antioxidants, but seeds are also abundant in trace minerals, higher in protein than nuts, and each kind of seed is nutritionally unique. Flax, chia, and hemp seeds are extremely rich sources of omega-3 fats. In addition to the omega-3s, flaxseeds are rich in fiber and lignans. Flaxseed consumption protects against heart disease by a number of different mechanisms, and lignans, which are present in both flaxseeds and sesame seeds, have anti-cancer effects.36-38 Sunflower seeds are especially rich in protein and minerals. Pumpkin seeds are rich in iron and calcium and are a good source of zinc. Sesame seeds have the greatest amount of calcium of any food in the world, and provide abundant amounts of vitamin E. Also, black sesame seeds are extremely rich in antioxidants.39 The healthy fats in seeds and nuts also aid in the absorption of nutrients when eaten with vegetables.
Copyright © 2004—2014 DrFuhrman.com, Inc. All rights reserved. All material provided on the DrFuhrman.com website is provided for informational or educational purposes only. Consult a physician regarding the applicability of any opinions or recommendations with respect to your symptoms or medical condition.
Adult play, Badminton, Double dutch, Exercise through play, Finding joy through play, Frisbee, Fun ways to play, Healthy Living, Hoola Hoop, Hopscotch, Physical activity, Touch football, Twister, Volleyball
A group I belong to recently participated at an event that consisted of some relay races. It was interesting to see how many adults in our group actually opted out of participating (they cheered us on!) and let the rest of us act like kids running around doing these various relay games. I was puzzled….doesn’t everyone like to play? It was a lot of fun and something different from my norm. I liked that. It pumped up my lungs, ramped up my heart rate and got my competitive and team spirit going!
It made me think more about how, as we get older, we really don’t stop and take time to play. As adults we live for responsibility. Everything is about earning an income to pay bills for our housing, food, entertainment, hobbies and interests, going to the gym to exercise, to the salon, to the driving range and spending time with our loved ones. I don’t know about you but my exercise time isn’t always fun. It’s usually somewhat repetitive and not always enjoyable (now that’s a real understatement!) and more of a chore.
Whereas this was fun. FUN! I felt really good. Exhilarated. Free. Relaxed. Destressed. Energized. I also realized I need to invest in myself through play.
Life is more than work. Let’s mix it up sometimes and do something out of the ordinary.
I have friends who tell me their kids spend all their time in their room or on their cell or other electronic media (or they do the same!). Whether you’re a kid or an adult, take a few minutes to step away from Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter. Put down the Xbox, tablet, laptop, cell, the remote and grab a friend or family member and get up and do something different.
Take time to:
- Play a game of hopscotch
- Toss the frisbee
- Grab a few friends for a game of powder puff or touch football
- Have a double-dutch challenge
- Race from one tree to another
- Play a game of Twister (remember that?!?!)
- Hit up the swings at the park
- Have a hoola hoop contest
- Play some badminton or volleyball
- Run around the house (I got the biggest kick out of doing this as a kid! My friends and I would just run and run and run around the house as many times as we could until we fell out on the grass panting and giggling endlessly. Ah, those were the days!)
The possibilities for play are endless. You’re never too old to play!
Focus on the fun. Be uninhibited. Feel the joy. Relish the experience!
Ready. Set. Play!
“Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes
In what ways can you add more play time into your life?
Maintaining good health keeps us joyful whereas failing health steals our joy and can often rob us of quality time with our loved ones. These days we are all more in tune with creating and developing healthy habits that will last a lifetime. One healthy habit is to understand and monitor the impact of weight management and maintenance as predictors of current and future health status.
Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measurement tool that uses a formula to identify weight status based on a calculation using a person’s weight and height. BMI is used as a diagnostic screening tool by healthcare professionals to assess and determine the potential for future health risks.
BMI is classified into four standardized categories of weight status:
- Underweight – below 18.5
- Normal weight – 18.5 – 24.9
- Overweight – 25.0 – 29.9
- Obese – 30 or greater (when BMI is > 30 it is further classified as: severe, morbid, or super obese)
Risk factors associated with an unhealthy BMI include: high blood pressure, high blood glucose, high cholesterol levels, respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease and the potential for a reduced life expectancy. The higher your BMI, the greater the risk of diseases associated with carrying the increased body fat on your frame.
Weight loss is a struggle. Trust me I know! However, even small weight losses, of 5-10 percent of current weight, positively influence a lower risk of obesity-associated disease.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) offers a BMI Calculator for adults age 20 and older. For adults, BMI is calculated the same for men and women. Simply enter your height and weight then compute the BMI. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/obesity/BMI/bmicalc.htm
Childhood obesity is increasing at a rapid rate in the United States. Although the BMI calculation is the same for children and adults (height and weight), the method of interpretation differs for children and teens and utilizes percentiles based on the child’s sex and age.
WebMD and Sanford Health Systems offer a FitKid’s BMI Calculator for children and teens (ages 2-19). You will need to enter the child’s gender, birthdate, height and weight to calculate. http://www.webmd.com/parenting/raising-fit-kids/weight/bmi/bmi-calculator
The weight status and percentiles for children and teens are classified as follows:
- Underweight – less than the 5th percentile
- Healthy weight – 5th to less than the 85th percentile
- Overweight – 85th to less than the 95th percentile
- Obese – equal to or greater than the 95th percentile
BMI interpretation examples for a 10 year old boy are provided below:
Today there are numerous ways to easily calculate BMI whether you use an online calculator such as the NHLBI BMI Calculator (for adults) or WebMD FitKid’s BMI Calculator (for children and teens), an app, a weight scale that offers BMI or body fat measurements or other fitness gadgets. In an effort to achieve a normal BMI weight status, if you are overweight or underweight, adopting the habit of computing BMI as a health monitoring tool may be useful for you, your children or your family.
National Immunization Awareness Month promotes the value of immunizations for all ages—babes to seniors.
For the month of August, each week focuses on a targeted age group and offers ways to use a recommended vaccination schedule to protect your loved ones from potentially life-threatening diseases.
- A Healthy Start (August 3-9) – protect your babies from birth to age 2
- Back to School (August 10-16) – protect children, preteens and teens
- Off to the Future (August 17-23) – protect young adults and college-age students
- Not Just for Kids (August 24-30) – healthy protection for adults
For additional information on National Immunization Awareness Month: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/events/niam.html
As summer comes to an end, and before school begins, ensure your children, preteens, teens, and college-age students are up-to-date on their immunizations.
To view recommended immunization schedules by age group: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/index.html