Know your nutritional status

When a patient is referred to a dietician for care in a hospital, one of their regular tasks is to obtain their height and weight.

In order to determine a patient’s body fat percentage relative to their overall weight, they can also do a body composition analysis on them.

Visceral fat, or the fat around visceral organs, is measured as part of the body composition analysis. This helps us estimate the amount of fat that is stored around internal organs such as the heart. The likelihood that the sufferer will get heart disease increases with this measure.

Patients occasionally merely inquire about their weight. It is feasible to ascertain whether or not one has gained weight by comparing the figure on the scale to a prior reading.

A person’s weight by itself is not a highly sensitive indicator of their nutritional health.

Know your nutritional status

The state of a person’s health as impacted by the nutrients in his diet is known as his nutritional status. It is a reflection of the body’s nutritional levels and their capacity to preserve regular metabolic integrity.

The word “nutritional status” refers to a broad range of specific elements from nutritional assessments, such as body mass index, body fat percentage, and clinical and biochemical analysis of the body.

Thus the earlier measurements I talked about as often performed by dieticians on their patients constitute the assessment of their nutritional status.

We would take a look at the body mass index (BMI) and its applications to the health status of an individual.

Measuring the body mass index (BMI)

First measure your weight in kilograms (kg) and then measure your height in meters (m). You can then calculate the BMI by using the formula below;

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There are smart phone applications that would only require that you enter your weight, then your BMI gets calculated.

Interpreting the BMI values

Description Lower BMI      Upper BMI

Underweight 17.5             18.5

Optimal          18.5             24.9

Overweight  25              29.9

Obese          30              40

Morbid Obesity Over 40

For adults, the BMI gives an indication as to whether you are underweight, of optimal weight, overweight or obese. For children, the figure is often compared to a growth chart.

The table above classifies the BMI for adults.

If you are underweight

• Your body may not get enough nutrients and energy for metabolism.

• You are prone to sickness more frequently.

• You may suffer infertility.

• You may not be able to sustain a full term pregnancy.

If you are overweight/obese

• Your body might be getting too much energy and nutrients.

• You are at an increased risk of developing diabetes, hypertension, high blood cholesterol, liver diseases, heart diseases, gout, arthritis, infertility, or even die.

To be at reduced health risk, maintain a normal BMI. Even within the normal range, it is better to fall somewhere below the median. Thus the closer it is to 18kg/m2, the better.

Eat well and get enough exercise to maintain a good weight for your height; a guarantee for total health and wellness.

If you are overweight or obese, take practical steps to bring your weight down. A dietician will be of immense help to you.

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