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Society’s view of women’s dress sizes is beginning to change. Every women’s magazine cover does not show a woman who looks like she skipped her meals for three days. More and more, curvy women are showing up in advertisements. There are businesses and websites devoted to plus-sized women.
So, what size body is healthy? Is plus size becoming the new “it size” because of our obesity epidemic? These are questions that do not have standard answers.
I always tread lightly with this topic because my mother died at age 52 from pancreatic cancer. As a personal trainer, I always recommend best practices for clients. But, every client is different.
Let’s look at the facts when it comes to body weight and body fat:
1. Body mass index (BMI) is not the best way to measure whether you are overweight and overfat. A healthy, muscular person could be considered overweight based on BMI standards. Your body composition is what you need to know.
BMI looks at overall body fat, whereas body composition reveals where you are fat. Abdominal fat (visceral) is the worst kind of fat and it has been proven to spread toxins into the internal organs which leads to health problems such as heart disease and cancer.
2. Too much belly fat is unhealthy regardless of your weight.
In a research study led by Eric J. Jacobs, PhD, American Cancer Society strategic director of Pharmacoepidemiology, he and his colleagues found that people with very large waists (47 inches or larger in men, 42 inches or larger in women) had approximately twice the risk of death compared to those with the smallest waists (35 inches in men, 30 inches in women) during the study period.
3. Butt, hip and thigh fat is healthier than belly fat.
According to the International Journal of Obesity (and many other sources), butt fat is healthier than belly fat. Their research shows that belly fat increases risks of heart attack, stroke, diabetes and premature death.
Women tend to carry too much fat on the butt, hips and thighs while men tend to carry too much belly fat.